Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN’

PAP voters are like M’sian Malays?

In Malaysia on 24/11/2015 at 5:15 am

When TRE republished this, there was an interesting response from a reader comparing the M’sian and S’pore body politick. I like the comparison (“similarity” a better word?) between the majorities in both countries. And do read the last para, it’s a gem.


The Malaysian political/judicial/economic system as it is today is in a mess. Forward looking Malaysian Muslims are aware and deeply concerned so much so that some are joining the DAP, a supposedly Chinese dominated party.

But the majority of the Muslims are either apathetic, unconcerned or too brain-washed by their leaders (political and/or religious) to understand the issues. Unfortunately, here lies the similarity between them and many Singaporeans.

If the DAP succeeds in showing Malaysians that a country can be ruled with competence, accountability and transparency (their proposed CAT system of governance) then it will be a blessings for all Malaysians, present and future.

But there is a lot of caveats. Can the DAP itself avoid the scourge of corruption from appearing among its own leaders and ranks? Can it avoid the stigma of being a “Chinese controlled” party amongst the Malays? Can it convinced the majority Malays that it does not have any hidden agenda but is a truly credible and competent party?

Again here-in lies similarities between the DAP and our opposition parties. Can our opposition parties maintain a high level of integrity and competency once voted in? For those not yet in parliament, do they have hidden vendetta and are truly out to serve the people (or themselves)?

The difference between Singapore and Malaysia is that we are not in as big a mess as they are. But it is scary to see the same level of complacency amongst the majority from both countries. One majority made up by race while the other made up by political affiliation.

Here’s how confusing the situation is there that an ang moh thinks that Najib will call a GE soon.

My Facebook avater responded: He’s got 2 and a half yrs in office unless UMNO kicks him out.. If he goes for GE and loses, likely to be prosecuted. Waz that in the context context of adding two and a yrs more?

I’ll add that even if he (or rather his wife otherwise knowwn as FLOM: First Lady of M’sia) wants to double down and wins a GE, he might not last another five yrs. UMNO could still kick him out. And if he (or rather FLOM ) wants to call GE and the IMNO regional leaders disagree, he’ll be out of a job. This ang moh talks cock.

Somewhat related Post: We forgot these lions

Haze: Season begins in Feb 2016

In Environment, Indonesia, Uncategorized on 22/11/2015 at 1:08 pm

Not in Aug/ Sept as is traditionally the case.. Or even like a few yrs back in May.

Enjoy the haze-free environment. Not that long more before next season begins.

This is what i posted a few weeks ago

The Indons tell us the fires will cease by the end of Neovember: rains are late this yr leh. What they don’t tell us: Louis Verchot of the Centre for International Forestry Research warns that El Niño may yet induce a second burning season, next February and March. Lax laws are part of the problem. Even more serious are official incompetence and corruption, which have allowed plantations to keep spreading on land that is supposed to be off-limits. A regional treaty designed to combat the haze was drawn up in 2002 that was full of grand promises but lacked teeth.

China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ good for S’pore

In China, Economy on 21/11/2015 at 1:12 pm

Others see a spurt of investment into regions that are already close trading partners with China. Singapore, the trading hub for Southeast Asia, could capture some of the flow.

“The country’s role as a major business, financial and trade hub for the Asia Pacific region will only be enhanced,” says Stuart Fuller of law firm King & Wood Mallesons.


Related posts: Chinese pearls in Indonesia

S’pore’s balancing act

S’pore mercenary prick of region?

In Malaysia on 14/11/2015 at 5:16 am

Remember this outburst

The verbal sparring between Malaysia’s opposition lawmaker Tony Pua and Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Bilahari Kausikan over whether Malaysian Chinese are delusional in trying to change the political system escalated today (Oct 9), after Mr Pua lashed out at Singapore, calling the Republic a “mercenary prick”.

“He did Singapore no favour by cementing the perception of his country as the mercenary prick of Southeast Asia … And they wonder why they have no friends,” the Democratic Action Party (DAP) lawmaker wrote on Facebook today. “I don’t care much if this was the view of some academic or armchair critic. But as the Ambassador-at-large, Mr Bilahari is a spokesman for Singapore.”

Funny for a senior member of a party whose leaders came to S’pore to report to one LKY when the DAP won power in Penang. Did the chief minister and his dad kowtow to Harry Lee?

Well so how come the DAP opposes S’pore type measure that the M’sian govt initiated

Pointing out that Singapore also has cash assistance policies, Prime Minister Najib Razak defended today (Nov 1) the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) cash handout.

Mr Najib said Putrajaya was only looking after the interests of lower income groups and those in rural areas burdened by rising living costs.

“If Singapore can give cash aid, why can’t Malaysia also give out BR1M?” Mr Najib said in a speech at the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) conference here.

Yes in deed, why not DAP?

S’pore faces tricky Sino-US balancing act

In China, Malaysia on 13/11/2015 at 4:53 am

“Malaysia faces tricky Sino-US balancing act”* was the headline of an ST story on an inside last Friday.

Actually the headline should be changed to “S’pore” and put on the front page to commemorate president Xi’s visit.

After all, we are a forward base for the US navy in all but name what with “Two US Navy (USN) Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) will be forward deployed to Singapore in 2016, a senior USN official has confirmed.”

And we know don’t we that the US navy intends to challenge China’s claims that the South China Sea is China’s?

And we know that both the US and China are big trading and investment partners od S’pore.


*Text: As the United States and Japan tussled with China over the wording of a concluding statement at an Asian security meeting in Kuala Lumpur this week, caught in the middle was host Malaysia.

Plans for a joint statement were eventually dropped by the Malaysian government due to disagreements over the disputed South China Sea. US and Japanese officials wanted to address Beijing’s island- building. Chinese officials resisted.

The episode illustrates the thin line Malaysia and other smaller South-east Asian states must walk in balancing ties with China and the US, especially since a US warship last week challenged the territorial limits around one of China’s man-made islands in the Spratly archipelago.

Malaysia’s biggest trading partner is China, according to Malaysian government statistics and, in contrast to other countries with competing claims to the South China Sea, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, it has typically played down concerns over China’s expanding military reach.

Nevertheless, US defence officials say Malaysia, along with other states in the region, has sought a greater US military presence to counter Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.

“We see the increased demand… really across the board in the region,” said a senior US defence official. “Malaysia’s a good example.”

Yesterday, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter visited the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the South China Sea, accompanied by Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, as he wrapped up a three-day stay in Kuala Lumpur. Mr Carter called the ship’s presence “a sign of the critical role that US military power plays in what is a very consequential region for the American future”.

US Marines and their Malaysian counterparts will also hold a joint amphibious training exercise next week in eastern Malaysia.

Malaysia has a long-standing arrangement to service and supply US military ships and aircraft as they pass through the region, making them frequent visitors to its ports. The number of US ship visits has steadily risen, from a handful per year in the early 2000s to more than 30 visits in 2011, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin this week highlighted the quandary for smaller states, saying he hoped nations outside the region would not raise tensions. “We will continue to engage China. We will continue to engage the US,” he said. “The fact that we are able to engage them and actually look at the reality… That is a clear message to the major powers out there.”

US and Western diplomats say they have been keen for several years for Malaysia to pay closer attention to mounting security challenges in the region, particularly from China. Chinese warships have staged regular patrols off James Shoal off the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Diplomats and analysts who have viewed satellite images say Chinese coast guard ships now also maintain a semi-permanent presence at South Luconia Shoals, to the north of James Shoal.

“Malaysia’s role and importance in broader security issues, particularly the South China Sea, is only going to grow more strategic,” one Western diplomat said. “It is a matter of pushing and nudging them into doing the right thing, rather than expecting them to take a lead and confront China.”


Haze: Help? What help?

In Environment, Indonesia on 10/11/2015 at 4:55 am

A new law introduced in Singapore this year that aims to drag Indonesia’s fire-starters through its own courts may make more difference. Retailers in the city-state have already stopped selling products made by some firms under investigation.


But otherwise our fire fighting team has returned and no new team is going out.

The Singapore team helping to fight haze-causing fires in Indonesia returned Saturday afternoon (Oct 24) after more than 10 days in Palembang.

The return marks the completion of the Singapore Armed Forces’ two-week deployment, as requested by Indonesian authorities.

A total of 40 SAF and Singapore Civil Defence Force troops were deployed on Oct 10.  A Chinook helicopter with a 5,000-litre heli-bucket was also deployed. Over the two weeks, it had discharged more than 400,000 litres of water and extinguished more than 50 hotspots in Sumatra.


This blog has been pretty critical about the Indon officials false pride and BS but if S’pore has not offered to send another team and another to help, then our help is really “peanuts” and not worth accepting in the first place.

More than 20,000 firefighters are battling blazes across its jungles and peatland. So our one-time help of 40 fire-fighters and some eqpt is “peanuts” by any standard,

But maybe we did offer to send another team (and then another), but the Indons refused our help?

But then I’m sure that our ministers would have made that fact public.

Next haze season begins in Feb 2016

In Environment, Indonesia on 08/11/2015 at 10:50 am

The Indons tell us the fires will cease by the end of Neovember: rains are late this yr leh. What they don’t tell us: Louis Verchot of the Centre for International Forestry Research warns that El Niño may yet induce a second burning season, next February and March. Lax laws are part of the problem. Even more serious are official incompetence and corruption, which have allowed plantations to keep spreading on land that is supposed to be off-limits. A regional treaty designed to combat the haze was drawn up in 2002 that was full of grand promises but lacked teeth.

Haze: Why Indons getting serious

In Environment, Indonesia on 31/10/2015 at 11:06 am

A few days ago I wrote Haze: Huge Indon U-turn within a week

The Indon govt was changing its mind on calling a state of National Emergency despite saying it wasn’t on the cards a few days earlier.

The reason?

“Lately, clouds of haze have been drifting into the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, which normally escapes the smelly fumes. Cynics will wonder whether that helped persuade Mr Widodo to come home early,” Economist.

Widodo had cut short a US trip to deal with haze.

Haze is hitting the elite where it hurts, their home town and the place where upset people can make a difference.


Chinese pearls in Indonesia

In China, Indonesia, Infrastructure on 31/10/2015 at 5:06 am

China Communications Constructionis currently in the process of finalising a $2.5bn deal with the Indonesia Port Corporation to upgrade 30 ports in East Indonesia 70% financed by the China Dev Bank


Haze: Huge Indon U-turn within a week

In Environment, Indonesia on 29/10/2015 at 5:23 am

The British have a saying, “A week is a long time in politics.”

Yesterday CNA reported, Indonesia is considering declaring a national emergency over fires that have been smouldering across the archipelago for weeks, sending haze drifting across much of Southeast Asia, the vice president said on Tuesday.

The government would intensify efforts to contain the fires that have caused pollution levels across the region to spike to unhealthy levels, and forced school closures and flight cancellations, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said.

“The problem is too big,” Kalla said in an interview at his office in Jakarta.

But on 21 October, Companies will benefit if haze problem declared national disaster: Indonesian minister

The annual haze problem in Indonesia is about injustice, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for politics, law and security Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said.

“When a company controls 2.8 million hectares of land, where is the justice? Then there are those that own 600,000 hectares of land but own not a single fire extinguisher,” he said in an interview in the Oct 25 issue of Tempo, an Indonesian weekly news magazine.

He explained authorities’ reluctance to declare the haze problem a national disaster, even though air pollution levels in some Indonesian cities have reached hazardous levels at more than 2,600 API.

“Should the government be dousing fires all the time? If we call it a national disaster, they will benefit from it,” he said, referring to land concession owners. “They have 500 million pounds sterling in London banks, but they demand that we douse the flames.”


The plantation owners could use  any declaration of a national emergency to declare force majeure on palm oil deals, even financing deals entered into with banks.

Haze: Only Indon officials do this

In Environment, Indonesia on 25/10/2015 at 4:23 am

Int’l conference of ministers in haze-ridden Padang.

Only Indon officials can be so cock. I assume that when this conference was scheduled, they tot the haze season would be over.

Correspondents … likely to be discussed at the talks is smoke from illegal forest burning in Indonesia that has blighted the air across much of South East Asia for several weeks.

Julie Bishop takes morning run before attending Indian Ocean Rim Association meetings in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia, 23 October 2015

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will hand on the chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to Indonesia at a meeting in West Sumatra.

IORA consists of 20 coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean and has been chaired by Australia since 2013.


Haze: Indon govt protecting plantation cos

In Environment, Indonesia on 23/10/2015 at 4:48 am

Our govt has officially requested Jakarta to provide S’pore with the names of those companies that are causing the fires. This would allow S’pore to take legal action against those responsible for the haze that has covered us, M;sia and now southern Thailand.

But Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Luhut Pandjaitan has given us us the finger on the issue (and in so doing tells us that the plantation cos are being protected), despite Indonesian officials regularly blaming S’pore-based (and M’sian based) cos for the fires.

Speaking to the media here after delivering a public lecture on Monday (Oct 19), he said Jakarta might consider releasing the names of the companies after they have gone though the legal process in Indonesia*.

Jakarta has said it is not yet ready to officially disclose names of plantation companies responsible for the forest fires in the country that caused the haze in the region.

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Luhut Pandjaitan said releasing the names would create uncertainty within the country.

He added that the Indonesian government also do not want to create an uncertain situation within the country because of this. “Moving forward, they know that they are going to get punished by the government. I think this is very important.

“But next year, we have already given them a clear message: We are going to revoke their licence, no question about that. That I can assure you. They understand that fully.” 


So it seems that the companies are to be given yet another chance to avoid being named and shamed, and prosecuted here. Did money cdhange hands ?

Related post: Another Indon goof


*Legal process, what legal process? He said: “Well, we are not protecting (plantation companies). Like I mentioned earlier, we have not officially submitted the names to the court. So how can we disclose them to the public? It’s unfair. We’ll wait for the court’s final decision.” 

How can courts decide if the names are not officially submitted? So Kafkaesque    of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings; especially :  having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality <Kafkaesque bureaucratic delays>

Did money change hands?


Why Johor royals talking of secession?

In Malaysia, Property on 20/10/2015 at 6:47 am

Young Johor royals are getting noisier as the Federal govt ignores them and the noise could keep affecting us further.

The Crown Prince of Johor warned in an interview published on Oct 16 on a footie website (I kid you not) that the state has every right to secede from Malaysia if it finds a breach to the terms agreed upon its membership to the Federation of Malaysia

Four months ago, his younger brother Idris Sultan Ibrahim had also posted a warning on Instagram that the southern state may secede from Malaysia if the conditions upon which Johor had joined the Malaysian Federation are violated.

In the post, which was later deleted, he issued a reminder that the Johor government had joined the Malay Federation in 1946 on several conditions. These included: making Islam the religion of the state, the state’s absolute right over water and land issues, and the state royal house to have its own armed forces.

Remember the hike in the toll rate by M’sia last yr that took the S’pore govt by surprise (Ah Loong and Najib had a love-fest juz before the announcement)? S’pore matched this hike after waiting a few months. From Oct 1 last year a round trip rose from a few dollars to S$13 (the collapse of the M$ has reduced this recently by a little). Result? Less S’poreans do their shopping in Johor. The hikes cut the cost advantage significantly if one travelled by car. There are allegations that the prices of vegetables rose too because lorries have to pay the levy. Bus prices went up by as much as 50%, it seems.

The story I heard then from very reliable M’sian sources was that the Federal govt hiked the rate (knowing S’pore would follow) to cause problems for the sultan of Johor. It seems it wanted to send him a message not to try to grab power. There was a big row when a bill was introduced in the Johor legislature giving the sultan, in his own right, the power to appoint the head of a Johor state land agency. By convention such appointments are by the sultan acting on the advice of the chief minister.

The bill was then amended so that the head was appointed by the sultan acting on the advice of the chief minister.

The rise in the toll made life a lot harder for businesses that depended on S’poreans crossing over to spend their money on cheaper goods and services. This is not good for Johor and the royal family. And there is the added bonus of making Chinese voters repent: the MP of a large part of Iskandar is the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, the hero of the M’sian Chinese.

But as the latest actions of the younger royals seem to indicate, royalty in Johor are  still upset with the Federal govt and who can blame them*? They are trying to take advantage of the 1MDB issue and the PM’s fight for political survival

Meanwhile Johor businesses continue to suffer.

The continuing row adds further pressure to property prices in Iskandar which is facing a glut of supply

It seems the Chinese developers are already having second tots about the projects they announced so confidently earlier this year and late last year .  Johor royalty is involved in many of these Chinese projects.

Expect more noise from the young royals which will in turn affect property values in Iskandar. Who wants to buy property in a state threatening secession?

LKY got it about right when he asked why invest in Johor where the rules can suka suka be changed overnight?


*Despite another hike** in April this year S’pore hasn’t followed.

**Yet to be implemented I forgot to add. (Update at 1.30pm)




Haze: Indons forgot about El Nino?

In Indonesia on 19/10/2015 at 5:31 am

Update on 22 October: There little possibility of rain before the end of November, said Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs.

When TRE republished TKSS reminded of how the yearly wayang ends: the rains come and everybody is happy.

CI, it is quite obvious the games played.

We are in mid October which is the transition between mother nature’s season of south west and north east monsoon. In another month or so the North east monsoon takes over and rain will douse fires

Indonesians are probably thinking why not for PR, they don’t do it the rains will.
They already have a few months when fires were most productive in cleaning lands*.

Sadly TKSS and the Indon officials forget that we are likely not to see the usual weather pattern. The weather should be a lot cooler and rainier  by now but it isn’t. I’ve got two fans on and am bare-bodied as I write this at 5.00am.

The dry spell is likely to continue for a lot longer than usual. Remember that last November — January were pretty dry. This November — January could be worse.

The only good thing we can look forward to is that El Nino is followed by La Nina. and a couple of once-in-a-century floods in the space of a few months. Here’s hoping :a Ninacomes earlier than expected.

Related article


*He goes on: Map co-ordinates will lead to identification of culprits which will destroy those bureaucracies – income in Province and Capital. Just wondering how much monies are used to grease the system by plantation owners to have their annual bonfires?

It is up to Political Leaders of those affected countries to get Indonesia to the table and start the process of enforcement. Laws can be enacted with regimes of fines and even confiscation of land by Indonesia.


1MDB: FBI examining Goldman Sachs

In Corporate governance, Malaysia on 16/10/2015 at 4:28 pm

NYT Dealbook:

Role of Goldman Sachs in 1MDB Transactions Under Scrutiny Investigators at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department have begun examining Goldman Sachs’s role in a series of transactions at 1Malaysia Development Berhad, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.


M$ can fall further/ M’sia boleh

In Currencies, Malaysia on 10/10/2015 at 6:30 am

Using REER [real effective exchange rate] calculations which takes into account inflation means M$ could fall by another 32% to 5.59 to the US$.

Actually, this is a lot better than other Asean countries (ex S’pore).

So M’sians shouldn’t blame Rosmah or as she prefers to be know First Lady of M’sia (FLOM) for weak M$.

Haze: Indon officials that cock meh? Double confirm

In Environment, Indonesia on 09/10/2015 at 5:32 am

Further to this, I’ll let my fellow Facebookers speak for me on the u-turn in Indon policy

“Jakarta accepts foreign help to fight raging forest fires” ST today. Finally. Why didn’t they accept such offers weeks back when it was offered and when the situation was already hazardous? Was it pride or what? And here, neighbours numbering millions have been suffering due to the Indonesian government’s previous stance! Hopefully there will be some relief in the near future.”

“At last! They also accepted Russian help. If Russia did not offer assistance I doubt that their foolish pride would have allowed them to accept Singapore’s offer. But now that a huge country and P5 member is helping them it has become acceptable to accept an insignificant offer from a tiny neighbour. Another factor may be the impending ASEAN Summit which also entails meetings with Dialogue Partners. Their lack of capacity has been all too evident and they would have wanted to avoid criticism from world leaders.
‘In today’s ST page A6 there is a story about how the Indonesian government pressured major palm oil firms to roll back no deforestation pledges they made at the UN. I think this is actually a more important story than Jakarta’s belated acceptance of foreign assistance because it reveals something of the thinking and priorities of this Indonesian government.”

To the second comment, I’d add that there is a newspaper that a senior Indon official claimed that it turned down S’pore’s help initially because it didn’t want S’pore to claim credit for solving the problems.

Using that line of reasoning, one can assume that Indon officials will refuse to divulge the name of S’pore-based cos that it thinks is causing the haze. Doesn’t want S’pore to claim the credit for prosecuting them.

Which brings me to Terry Xu’s constructive suggestion to the S’pore govt.

“Zenata Putera, co-founder of local NGO, P.M Haze, said that while Indonesian authorities have said that there is a lack of information regarding the plots of land which companies own, NGOs have noted that such information is in fact available. He also said that it would be easier to work with the NGOs to resolve the haze-related issues than to go through the bureaucratic process.
What the Singapore government could probably do is to engage with the NGOs in Indonesia and to work out a plan to monitor errant companies. It could also help provide jobs for villagers who would be willing to work as firefighters and watchmen of the plantations to prevent fires or to testify against companies who run foul of the law.
The Singapore government has a duty to address the annual issue and to stop pushing the blame to “uneducated” villagers and companies that are almost never prosecuted in any way. The residents of Singapore deserves a better answer than being urged to bear with it and told that things are beyond our control.”

What Terry Xu is saying is this, “By-pass the Indonesian govt, work with the Indon NGOs to identify the criminals”

Good suggestion but following it will get the Indon govt further upset with us. Indonesia is so protective of its sovereignty that it refuses to provide the map co-ordinates of the areas where it alleges S’pore cos are breaking its law, when our govt wants the info to prosecute the alleged burners.

In dealing with the haze problem, there no win-win possiblities, only a choice of lesser evils.

Haze: La Nina riding to the rescue?

In Environment, Indonesia on 04/10/2015 at 4:25 am

So the Indon officials say they don’t need our help despite the VP sayinfg S’pore should help and despite firefighters saying they lack eqpt. Allah is sending in La Nina earlier than expected.

Coming in 2016, El Nino’s other half: heavy rains among other things.

Map: effects of La Nina on commodities

Haze: Indon officials that cock meh?

In Indonesia on 03/10/2015 at 4:32 am

Indonesia has enough resources to fight the forest fires that are causing the haze in the region, and does not need the assistance offered by Singapore at this time, Indonesian officials told a Singapore delegation on Thursday (Oct 1). CNA

Strange as

— Tot Indon VP told S’pore to help, not juz bitch: OK he said Indon was open to help, but that implies that it needs help. So officials now saying he talk cock king?

— These fire fighters say they don’t have the resources to put out the fires in their area

Haze, 9/11 & TOC

In Indonesia, Political governance on 28/09/2015 at 5:18 am

PM got really lucky on 9/11? Or did the 9th Immortal* use his newly acquired powers to fix the weather?






































Imagine if 9/11 was as hazy as last Friday (Schools had to be closed and in the morning, the Pollutants Standards Index,PSI, hit 341- the highest level this year.). PM would most probably not have got the 10 point swing that had the anti-PAP cyberwarriors like Constance Singham choking on their venom from their fangs A five point swing would have been more likely, something which I tot probable based on my analysis that East Coast and Marine Parade would not fall, but Aljunied would repent

In the run up to 9/11, if the weather had been like that in the last week TOC (WP’s Hammer Online) would be pushing the line that the haze is almost all the fault of the PAP administration: like it did on Friday

The Singapore government has a duty to address the annual issue and to stop pushing the blame to “uneducated” villagers and companies that are almost never prosecuted in any way. The residents of Singapore deserves a better answer than being urged to bear with it and told that things are beyond our control.”

I’ll go into what the Hammer Online TOC wants the govt to do one of these days. But until then bear in mind that anti-PAP cyberwarriors accused the govt of using salt to induce rain juz before F1. When the govt denied this, TOC said the govt was being less than open because the M’sians and Indons might have used salt to induce rain (Wow everything blame PAP isit?). Btw, TOC and the anti-PAP cyberwarriors didn’t use the the word “salt”. They used the term “sodium chloride”. To make the seeding sound more “sinister”?

It’s stories like this that “double confirm” the PAP administration’s assertion that TOC is indeed “political” and worthy of being hantamed, left, right and in the balls. When it was “gazetted” yrs ago, I tot the action unfair: now I’m not so sure.(Disclosure: I helped out at TOC when Ravi was chief editor,)

TOC doesn’t respect the decision of 70% of voters to support the PAP? It like, Dr Chee, wants the 30% to rule over the 70% isit?

“At home, anger at the current political situation is palpable [Huh? OK on TRE] and some have resorted to action [TRE cybernuts are shoutong obscenities and cursing their fellow S’poreans? Nothing unusual there.] . If the PAP is content to label this group of citizens as the ‘noisy minority’, … For these people, the prospect of being unable to bring about political change through the ballot box* only makes the PAP’s claim of legitimate power sound dangerously vacuous.”

(He forgot that over the years this 30% of voters have been able to get the support of swing voters in Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East. Juz because the SDP can’t win, doesn’t mean that others can’t. Go ask the WP. Yes, it’s an uneven field, but winning is not impossible. Takes time, patience and maturity: virtues that Dr Chee may not have.

Yes the minority has rights, but so does the 70%. Democracy is not about majoritism, but neither is it about dictatorship by the minority.

Here’s an extract (emphasis mine) from a BBC article that Doc Chee and TOC should bear in mind when demanding that the views of the 30% must prevail (because the 30% agrees with their “right” views?)

Clem Attlee’s Labour government had a massive Commons majority and an undoubted mandate, but had only 16 peers in the Lords. Theoretically, their Lordships could have frustrated Attlee at every turn, throwing out or wrecking every bill in their programme, but that would have risked retaliation in the form of outright abolition – so, instead, a deal was struck.

Peers would not oppose measures promised – “foreshadowed” – in the government’s manifesto, and therefore assumed to have the endorsement of the electorate, at second or third Reading. In other words, the government would get the legislation it had promised to voters, and therefore would not have to get bogged down in an Asquith-style struggle with the Lords – Addison was a veteran of the Asquithian Liberal Party, and would doubtless have preferred not to repeat its epic battles with peers.

Cranborne spelled the new doctrine out in the debate on the King’s Speech in July 1945:

“Whatever our personal views, we should frankly recognise that these proposals were put before the country at the recent general election and the people of this country, with full knowledge of these proposals, returned the Labour Party to power. The government may, therefore, I think, fairly claim that they have a mandate to introduce these proposals. I believe it would be constitutionally wrong, when the country has so recently expressed its view, for this House to oppose proposals which have been definitely put before the electorate.”

He reserved “full liberty of action” on legislation not included in an election manifesto.


*Funny that no-one has accused LKY of using his unearthly powers to transform Oppo votes into PAP votes. But Uncle Redbean comes close.

The final result was just too incredible and unbelievable. This must be the biggest mystery of this GE. It was like a strange event in the Bermuda Triangle that defied all logic and reasons. How could a SDP team that was technically superior or at worst equal to the PAP team lost so badly?

Call it a miraculous win for the PAP team. The other mystery must be the near loss of the WP team in Aljunied GRC. The voters could not switch camp just like that, and without a big crisis. The AHPETC was no crisis but a red herring. The voters of Aljunied were not so daft not to see it to affect their voting decision.

Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

I’m sure that he, like Goh Meng Seng, believes that UFOs are aliens visiting.





M’sia: Why Cina & Kelang bitching

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 26/09/2015 at 1:02 pm

And why the Malay ultras think that they are ingrates.

BN wastes reserves defending ringgit

Big Asean stk mkt falls

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 25/09/2015 at 1:15 pm


Remember MayBank Kim Eng says Thailand and S’pore mkts most resilient in region.

VivianB’s other folly: F1

In Economy, Tourism on 20/09/2015 at 11:20 am

Dr Chee rightly put down the guy who sneered at the elderly poor (Pioneer Package was PM’s way of saying sorry?) by reminding everyone who was responsible for overspending on the Kiddie Games by S$300m. (Btw, we never got to find out about the truth about the food poisoning of volunteers as promised did we?)

But lest we forgot, F1 was VivuanB’s idea too.

And it’s been another folly. Worse, S’pore is still paying the costs of having F1.

Singapore pays US$65m (S$83.3m) a year to bring F1 here. Only Malaysia and Abu Dhabi pay more.(BBC report).

Monaco is the only place that doesn’t pay.

So our “iconic” race is not cheap. Remember this when you read how much money F1 brings here.

The cost for organizing each race is approximately S$150 million dollars, with the government paying about 60% of the costs. And the fee is 55.6% of the cost). The government claims that each race generates about S$150 million in tourism receipts. So sounds like breakeven to me only, without taking into account the inconvenience to commuters and the lost sales at Suntec*.


It’s not as though there is a huge savings gap. In fact it’s more expensive to stage a street race, even without taking account of the economic losses.

However, the annual running costs of a street race are greater than those of one on a permanent circuit: temporary grandstands need to be built and the roads need to be upgraded to F1’s high safety standards. The biggest single expense for the operators is staffing (c£10m), followed by rental of grandstands (c£8m) and construction of safety barriers and fencing (c£5m). 

In total, the annual operating cost of an F1 street race is in the region of £36m. Then comes the hosting fee, which is paid to the F1 rights holder. The average hosting fee came to £17m in 2011 but the sting in the tail of the contracts is that the price accelerates by as much as 10 per cent every year. Most new F1 race contracts are for ten years, so by the end of the agreement the annual fee comes to around £40m thanks to the escalator clause in the contract. That means that over the ten-year duration the bill for hosting fees totals an estimated £272m (see below) with the cost of running the races coming to £360m. That makes a total over ten years of more than £600m.

With annual running costs that are far lower than those for a street race, the total cost of building a Grand Prix circuit and hosting an F1 race over a ten-year period comes in at around £560m. But promoters need to dig deep to fund that initial track construction… … how much the key elements of a brand new Grand Prix circuit are likely to cost… [£164m]

So the difference is spending S$80m more over 10 yrs to “save” on the cost of building a permanent track. Of course, I ‘m assuming the cost of the circuit land is zero or nominal. But this being S’pore where giving away the land for public housing would be “raiding the reserves” (Mah Bow Tan), this is a non-starter. Anyway the usual suspects would shout “corruption” even if the govt was willing to lease land at a nominal price.

So, the end result is that the “little people” who have to commute by way of public transport, get screwed, So waz new?

And in a meritocracy, he’s still a minister? Can sneer at the elderly poor, overspend, miscalculate badly benefits and still be a minister? Why liddat PM?

Btw, the people who come for F1

*So how abt sharing the benefits with the losers?  Especially since F1 will bring S$1b “additional value-add” for economy, says Iswaran. (S’pore expects expenses to drop about 15% to 20%, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The cost of the race is about $150 million, with the government co-funding 6o% of the amount, reminded S. Iswaran, “Singapore’s second trade minister, who’s responsible for developing the tourism industry”. What he didn’t say is that hotels have to pay a special levy of 30% on room rates during F1 period, if they are “track-side” hotels and 20% for the others. )

Compensate the retailers at Suntec City  and those who work in the city? Tax rebates for them? If no such sharing of the benefits, then it’s some private profits, and big state windfall (via taxes and other levies), and public inconvenience and some private losses. Readers might also like to know that it costs at least US$120m to build a dedicated F1 circuit (excluding, it seems, land costs), so by inconveniencing commuters and some retailers, the government is passing on the one-off cost of building a F1 track to some S’poreans annually. Whoever said there isn’t a free lunch? More reason to offer compensation.

M’sia’s not that bad, Worry about Indonesia

In Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 19/09/2015 at 4:37 am

Here’s another analysis coming to the same conclusion

Idonesia is 4th after some real dogs Venezuela, Turkey and Ukraine. Yikes, it might be a another real dog.

M’sia is way down even below PinoyLand. Thailand is juz better than M’sia while Vietnam is really safe by the standards of the others. Safer than Saudi Arabia.

When Fed raises rates, regional currencies will tank

In Currencies, Indonesia, Malaysia on 17/09/2015 at 2:00 pm


Why M$ fall should worry

In Currencies, Emerging markets, Malaysia on 15/09/2015 at 1:35 pm

FX reserves

The ringgit lost 20% (ine of the worse performing currencies) of its value against the dollar this year despite Bank Negara spending 29% of its FX reserves to slow the fall. If it had spent less, rinngit would have fallen a lot more.


Don’t laugh at M’sians

In Currencies, Malaysia on 03/09/2015 at 4:18 pm

Markets EM currenciesRinggit has fallen 18% more or less but 11.6% ain;t that great

No bonus this yr/ How deals get done

In Investment banking on 29/08/2015 at 4:16 am

A Hard Year for Investment Banks in Southeast Asia. Slowing economies have led to the scrapping of several initial public offerings, a drought in mergers and acquisitions, and a plunge in local currencies that has discouraged investors from buying stock and bonds issued locally.

How deals get done

NYT Dealbook also

Deals are underpinned by a trust that the prices discussed are fair and that the move is the best way to finance further growth. But sharp gyrations in the broad stock markets could unnerve the people responsible for making these decisions.

“Whenever you see this kind of turmoil in the market, it can shake people’s confidence,” said Kenneth M. Jacobs, the chief executive of Lazard. “You could see a pause until the dust settles and conditions become clearer.”

Advisers say many of the factors that have underpinned the huge boom in mergers have stayed in place. The cost of borrowing money remains cheap, letting buyers take on debt to take over their targets.

Lower share prices would not necessarily create an issue. If stocks fall to a new level, management teams would work with this new normal. It would also benefit private equity firms, who have routinely been outbid by corporate buyers able to pay more for targets. The problem is the volatility in markets. If markets are plunging one day and rebounding the next, it would make it difficult to price a takeover.

Ringgit, Rupiah got a lot more room to fall?

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 22/08/2015 at 6:20 am

Assuming if M’sia and Indonesia decide like Russia to keep government revenues the same in local currency terms, this would suggest that the Indonesian rupiah and Malaysian ringgit are both somewhat overvalued, even after falling to 17-year lows.

They would need to let their currencies weaken (in percentage terms) against the dollar by as much as the oil price has fallen. The Saudis (and other Arabs) do things differently. Because  they have foreign reserves that will last for years they peg their currency to the dollar.

Only in Indonesia

In Indonesia on 22/08/2015 at 4:12 am

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has apologised after the old fascist-era Spanish national anthem was played for gold medallist Carolina Marin at the world championships in Indonesia.

Marin successfully defended her world title in Jakarta on Sunday against India’s Saina Nehwal.

But the version of Spain’s Royal March played at the medal ceremony was the one dating back to Gen Francisco Franco’s far-right dictatorship.

Report from BBC earlier in the week

Everyone’s weaker against US$ after yesterday’s RMB devaluation

In China on 12/08/2015 at 1:28 pm

SG50: Dr M calls M’sia from Hell

In Malaysia on 09/08/2015 at 4:36 am

A good joke to share on our National Day: The moon wass in the Seventh House And Jupiter aligned with Mars when we got kicked out of M’sia by the Tungku.

Mahathir, Regional indicator for United KingdomQueen Elizabeth, and Regional indicator for RussiaVladimir Putin all died and went to hell.

While there, they spied on a red phone and asked what was the phone for. The Devil tells them it is for calling planet Earth.

Regional indicator for RussiaRegional indicator for RussiaRegional indicator for RussiaRegional indicator for RussiaRegional indicator for RussiaRegional indicator for RussiaRegional indicator for RussiaRegional indicator for RussiaRegional indicator for Russia
Putin asks to call Russia and talks for 5 minutes. When he is finished the Devil informs him that the cost is a Million dollars, so Putin writes him a cheque.

Regional indicator for United KingdomRegional indicator for United KingdomRegional indicator for United KingdomRegional indicator for United KingdomRegional indicator for United KingdomRegional indicator for United KingdomRegional indicator for United KingdomRegional indicator for United KingdomRegional indicator for United Kingdom
Next Queen Elizabeth calls England and talks for 30 minutes. When she is finished the Devil informs her that the cost is 6 Million dollars, so she writes him a cheque.

Finally Mahathir gets his turn and talks for 4 hours. When he is finished the Devil informs him that the cost is $5.00.

When Putin hears this he goes ballistic and asks the Devil why Mahathir got to call Malaysia so cheaply.

The Devil smiles and replies: “Since Najib took over, the country has gone to hell, so it’s a local call.”

The facts don’t contradict  the Devil’s “Since Najib took over, the country has gone to hell”.

This week, ringgit fell to a fresh 17-year low against the dollar, the country’s foreign currency reserves plummeted below the $100bn level to their lowest level in five years. The slide comes in lockstep with the double-dip in crude prices, with oil revenue accounting for 30 per cent of the government’s revenue. (FT yesterday)

M’sia: Tak boleh? Indonesia not far behind?

In Currencies, Indonesia, Malaysia on 04/08/2015 at 12:59 pm

Asia currencies main

Exports slump in Asean: Will affect S’pore

In Economy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Property on 01/08/2015 at 4:47 am

For starters, a lot less tourists from Indonesia. And upper end properties will continue to be in dolddrums.

What drives the Pinoy economy? Why see S’pore no Ak

In Uncategorized on 25/07/2015 at 4:39 am

US is the biggest source of remittances: 42.6% out of total of U$24.3bn. Remittances is 10% of gross domestic product in itself, and a vital driver of the consumer spending that accounts for two-thirds of the Philippines’ economic output.

Asia is only third as a source of remittances and the amount from S’pore is therefore “peanuts”: Money talks, BS walks.


IPO that is not coming to SGX

In Indonesia on 18/07/2015 at 4:37 am

Philip Morris International has hired investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase, to sell over US$1 billion worth of shares in its Indonesian operation,

S’poreans are delusional?

In Financial competency, Uncategorized on 09/07/2015 at 4:39 am

S’pore has been ranked 97th out of 145 countries in a Global Well-Being Index survey by polling firm Gallup and “well-being solutions provider” (whatever  doesthis mean) Healthways announced on June 24. Panama came in first for the second consecutive year heading the list for physical and purpose well-being, and second place for social and community.

Worse, in Asean, we ranked behind Myanmar (20), Malaysia (41), Philippines (43), Thailand (50), Indonesia (73), Vietnam (93). Cambodia came in slightly below Singapore at 99. (More details at end of the article from CNA)

The cybernuts were out celebrating this ranking (showed S’pore was a terrible, horrible place), while the constructive, nation-building media was quiet on analysis and commentary.

I wasn’t too surprised because the rankings were based on personal feelings:  Responses were categorised by Gallup analysts as “thriving”, “struggling” or “suffering”. Countries are then ranked on the percentage of the population that is “thriving” in three or more elements of well-being. And S’poreans are always complaining, unhappy about almost everything.

What I found interesting is that S’pore scored well in“managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security”, Singapore was ranked ninth worldwide.

Seems delusional of the S’poreans surveyed given

— The cost of “affordable” public housing (25 year  to pay morgage), leaving very little room to build up retirement savings.

— The cost of owning a car.

— A public transport system that sucks if one is working and can’t afford a car.

— Most of the gains in real wages comes via the CPF increase that employers have to gove.

— The almost 40% of the salary that is tied down with restrictions.

And they still think they are doing “managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security”.

The PAP administration must have put something into the water supply.

btw, Gallup is a very respectable polling organisation, unlike our Institute of Policy Srudies.


 *The index was based on interviews with more than 146,000 people aged 15 and older, in 145 countries, territories and areas in 2014. The annual survey measured five indicators: Financial well-being, community well-being, purpose well-being, social well-being and physical well-being.

Survey respondents were asked ten questions and asked to rate their responses on a five-point scale. Responses were categorised by Gallup analysts as “thriving”, “struggling” or “suffering”. Countries are then ranked on the percentage of the population that is “thriving” in three or more elements of well-being.

For financial well-being, which Gallup defined as “managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security”, Singapore was ranked ninth worldwide.

Singapore was ranked 72nd worldwide for community well-being, defined as “liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community”.

It scored 111th in purpose well-being – “Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals”; 127 in social well-being – “having supportive relationships and love in your life”; and 137th in physical well-being – “having good health and enough energy to get things done daily”.

The index aggregates the scores in the five categories to arrive at Singapore’s overall 97th ranking.




As it’s Ramadan, think Hijaber

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 04/07/2015 at 4:47 am

The buying power of trendy fashion-conscious Muslim women M’sia and Indonesia according to the FT.  It should add in S’pore too.

S’pore not part of Apple’s ecosystem

In China, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam on 29/06/2015 at 12:04 pm

Neither is M’sia or SE Asia. It’s Northern Asia. I blogged yonks ago that we are part of the Microsoft ecosystem.

Apple iPhone component suppliers

Another week, another Noble Bahru?

In Accounting, Airlines on 20/06/2015 at 4:27 am

Debt of 11.5 billion ringgit ($3.1 billion) is already uncomfortably high for an outfit expected to make 1.9 billion ringgit in EBITDA this year. AirAsia’s part-owned sister airlines, especially in Indonesia and the Philippines, owe it increasing sums: amounts due from associates were nearly 2.5 billion ringgit at the end of 2014.

The gloomy case, as made by Hong Kong’s GMT Research, is that this cannot last. AirAsia is booking profits from affiliates that it cannot collect. While restrictions on foreign ownership mean it is only a minority shareholder, it effectively controls these airlines and should consolidate their accounts. Facing up to reality would force a big equity issue.

AirAsia counters that its accounts are transparent, debt is coming down, and cheap fuel and reduced competition should make for a “very good year”. Selling and leasing back planes will help cut debt. It’s also planning to publish pro-forma consolidated accounts.

Fernandes says local partners in Indonesia and the Philippines will each inject over $80 million of fresh equity, and both units will sell $100 million-plus of convertible bonds, before floating in 2017. Some of this will be used to pay back sums owed to the parent.

Well, perhaps. But new investors in the affiliates will need to be comfortable with much of their cash going to repay debts, while also believing in a bright future for these units. As HSBC analysts note, both are sub-scale and face powerful local rivals in Lion Air and Cebu Air.

The real moral of the stories of Noble and AirAsia is that when one makes money or is in fashion, no-one cares about accounting details, But when the fashion changes, or one loses money, the daggers come out and the hyenas and vultures circle.

And don’t like a lost co, set up a website and slime away

Think Indonesia is still the next big thing?

In Commodities, Corporate governance, Emerging markets, Indonesia on 14/06/2015 at 6:08 am

Rothschild Exits Investment in Indonesian Coal The British financier Nathaniel Rothschild’s five-year foray into Indonesia’s coal sector has come to an end after his investment vehicle, NRH Holdings, agreed to sell its 17.2 percent stake in Asia Resource Minerals, the London-listed company formerly known as Bumi, for 23.2 million pounds, or $35.3 million.

NYT Dealbook

It would be “the first and last time” he would get involved in Indonesia. He described the Asian country as “ungovernable”.

As the FT reported, he ended his quest to regain control of the miner, which he founded along with Indonesia’s Bakrie family in 2010, when the company was known as Bumi. He is estimated to have lost about £80m through the investment.

Instead he has agreed to sell his shares to an investor group backed by another Indonesian family, the Widjajas. Their £135m bid is now being backed by Asia Resource’s board. The company was once worth £3bn.

Widjajas 1 Jewish boy 0

Bakries 0 Jewish boy 0

Even M’sian successful tycoons have serious problems navigating Indonesian corporate jungles: think AirAsia.


HK ahead of us, Switzerland, M’sia behind us

In Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia on 07/06/2015 at 4:06 am

Chart: Top 20 investors, 2014

Plenty of gas around us

In Energy, Indonesia, Malaysia on 06/06/2015 at 5:06 am

Govt’s plan to be a lNG trading hub is a no-brainer.

World's top LNG producers


Foreigners mistrust PinoyLand?

In Uncategorized on 30/05/2015 at 1:54 pm

In 2014, the country attracted just US$6.2bn in foreign investment, a lot less than in the rest of Asean. 


This despite the strongest growth in Asean something that I’ve documented.

Looks like they are taking a cue from the Pinoys who continue leaving, not returning home.

Ello’s relations will be flooding in

In Uncategorized on 30/05/2015 at 4:34 am

And steal our dinner (having stolen our lunch thanks to the PAP administration)

And things are already really bad. A Pinoy “foreign law expert” wrote very arrogantly  “According to our kababayans, Singaporeans really look at Filipinos as their competition given that we are diligent and speak better English. You really have to be careful about what you say. Also you have to consider that there are an average of 4 different cultures in that country: Indians, Malaysians, Chinese, and Filipinos. You have to be careful not to offend anyone with your remarks.”

Peenoys “diligent and speak better English”? And Peenoy culture ranks with our cultures?

Sorry, back to the reason why Ello’s relations will be coming here

Growth in the Philippine economy slowed in the first quarter of the year to its weakest annual pace since 2011, official figures showed.

The economy expanded 5.2% in the first three months from a year ago, which is the slowest rate since the last quarter of 2011, when growth was 3.8%.

The figure was also well below market forecasts for 6.6% growth.

The economy was hit by weak growth in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, the government said.

Growth on a quarterly basis was the lowest in six years. The economy grew by just 0.3% in the quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis, compared with 2.5% growth in the October to December period.

Will Ello Ello be stirring his fellow Peenoys to kick us out.? Will the PAP administration pretend not to hear?


Eat yr hearts out Pinoys, Dr M

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 23/05/2015 at 5:13 am

Our economy in absolute terms is bigger than PeenoyLand. And we only slighly smaller than M’sia. Only Thailand and Indonland bigger than us in absolute terms.

Politics is pork in PinoyLand/ Always got excuse

In Uncategorized on 16/05/2015 at 4:15 am

No wonder the Pinoys don’t want to go home despite PinoyLand topping the economic and stk mkt charts in Asean

Since the Philippines’ restoration of democracy in 1986, the tendency has been for its politicians to coalesce around whomever they regard as the most unbeatable presidential candidate. They trade their support for patronage. A president needs the backing of congress and local governments to wield power, while members of congress, governors and mayors need the spoils provided by a president to wield their own power through subsequent terms in office.

Any lack of administrative aptitude makes a president especially dependent on his political supporters. Policies are barely mentioned in election campaigns, appearing only later, governing coalitions form around the presidential candidate. The mainstream political parties are best understood as vehicles for sharing out campaign funds. A party’s membership balloons if presidential candidate wins and shrivels if he loses. From the typical Filipino politician’s point of view, Mr Pacquiao* is thus ideally suited to be president: he has never administered anything bigger than his own household, so he must depend on others; no policy other than general beneficence towards the people has been heard from him, so no promises need be kept; and he has plenty of money for attending politicians to share out in order to keep themselves in office.

Mr Pacquiao lacks only a political pedigree … By exploiting popular sentiment, this system can turn just about any beloved celebrity into a president, as it did for Mr Aquino. Joseph Estrada, an actor, earned enough good will by playing good guys in the movies to become the unbeatable presidential candidate in 1998. He was booted out of office, in 2001, only after he and one of the political cronies he had attracted fell out over the loot from their joint corruption.


*After he lost on points, “I don’t want to make alibis or complain or anything,” Mr Pacquiao said before doing just that, “[but] it’s hard to fight one-handed.” 

Always got excuse: after the event.

PAP can learn from Thai generals?

In Political governance on 09/05/2015 at 5:09 am

Maybe the PAP should add these to its list of institutions to make sure voters make the right choices and if they don’t (think Aljunied) to protect them from the consequences of their actions, whether they reprent or not voting in the oppo (think Aljunied again). Obviously the PA system is not working in Aljunied: otherwise no need to take WP TC to court.

Ten or so other institutions will help to baby-sit the politicians, including a “National Moral Assembly” which will punish those who act unethically, a catch-all term that could be used against government critics. Three-quarters of the 120 seats in a new “National Reform Assembly” will be reserved for toadies now serving in one of the junta’s various conclaves. Their job will be to prevent any future government deviating from a legislative programme that the generals are now laying down.

Lucky us: Indonesia’s economy bigger than UK, France or Italy

In Economy, Indonesia on 09/05/2015 at 4:55 am

Iskandar: UMNO, DAP MPs agree

In Malaysia, Property on 02/05/2015 at 4:24 am

It’s in deep trouble. They all have constituencies in the area.

Picking up on a warning by Malaysia’s largest bank of the risks of a housing glut in Iskandar, Johor lawmakers have cautioned against foreign investors’ optimism about the development corridor’s economic boom and population growth, saying that demand for premium homes in Iskandar has lagged far behind supply.

“There is a misconception about the demand market here … there is a clear mismatch between supply and demand,” Mr Shahrir Abdul Samad, Member of Parliament (MP) for Johor Baru, told the Malay Mail Online.

“There is an oversupply of premium properties, (but) the demand … is for medium- and low-cost ones, owing to people’s incomes,” added the former Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister.

Mr Shahrir said it was only natural for developers of premium residential properties in Iskandar to be hardest-hit by the dip in prices and secondary sales, as those projects were never the focus of the region.

“You have to be fair to Iskandar, as housing was never part of its main draft. The crux of its investment was more on services, hospitality and manufacturing, as well as allocations for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The investments we are interested in are not housing, and this is why we have called in Pinewood and Legoland to Iskandar,” said Mr Shahrir, referring to South-east Asia’s largest integrated studio facility and the popular theme park, respectively.

“That is the main investment strategy, but because of all these, foreign developers think there is a demand for their properties, and that is not happening. This is what’s happening, and they have to live with it. If they are willing to take the risk, then we can’t stop them,” the senior lawmaker from United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) said.

Dr Boo Cheng Hau, Johor opposition leader and Skudai assemblyman, noted that these residential projects were launched without sufficient supporting services or industries in place to make them viable in the near term.

The Democratic Action Party (DAP) MP said the region was not yet able to accommodate a surge in tourism or fulfil the needs of foreign investors seeking to take advantage of Malaysia’s second-home schemes.

“There will be a sustainable demand for properties here, but not in the near future. It will take another five to 10 years to see a boom in sectors such as manufacturing, services and so on, (and) a more steady increase in demand for properties,” Dr Boo said in an earlier email interview.

Mr Liew Chin Tong, DAP’s Kluang MP, stressed that the rapid pace of property development in Iskandar had no real legs on which to stand, a situation that is not helped by the nationwide slowdown in the property market.

“Johor is a case of killing the golden goose too fast, too greedily. The property market is not sustained by a genuine working population with income to support their investments, while borrowing rates are surging, waiting for the bubble to burst,” Mr Liew said when contacted.

But here’s one UMNO optimist:

However, UMNO’s Pulai MP, Mr Nur Jazlan Mohamed, believes the upcoming RM53 billion (S$19.7 billion) Pengerang Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project will provide the needed jobs and spending capacity to revive the region’s flagging property market.

“Property in Iskandar is experiencing a down cycle, but (sales) will pick up once corporate businesses like RAPID kick-start. Once corporations set up businesses in Iskandar, things will pick up. When businesses come in offering higher job opportunities, only then will the supply (of residential property) be taken up. (Iskandar) will not become a white elephant,” he said. MALAY MAIL

(20 April Today)

Thailand, M’sia, S’pore got a problem/ S’poreans stupid?

In Economy, Financial competency, Malaysia, Property on 26/04/2015 at 3:21 am

Singapore – where the ratio of household debt is 75% About 75% of this household debts are mortgage loans – See more at:

The “affordable” 25 year HDB loan is responsible for S’pore’s high household debt. And remember it’s not freehold not a 99-yr lease from the govt.

S’poreans like Brits are stupid? [T]he economists calculate that homeowners discount future benefits over the very long run at a rate of 2.6% per year. This is lower than the rates used by governments to assess infrastructure projects or by pension funds to evaluate their liabilities, and suggests that the general public is more patient than the authorities give it credit for.

More CGT BS? Swiss Standard? What Swiss standard?

In China, India, Malaysia on 25/04/2015 at 5:19 am

Switzerland has been ranked the happiest country in world.

Singapore is ranked 24th But is tops in Asean and region. Thailand is placed at 34, Taiwan (38), Japan (46), South Korea (47), Malaysia (61), Hong Kong (72), Indonesia (74) and PinoyLand (90).  China and India are found lower down the scale at 84 and 117 respectively


In Currencies, Emerging markets on 23/04/2015 at 1:26 pm

Ang mohs lose interest in emerging markets i.e. Asean. We’ll suffer the consequences given that our listcos often seen as safe proxies for investments in these places.

Once seen as a necessity in portfolios, investments in emerging markets have lately become less appealing because of messy politics and staggering economies, DealBook’s Landon Thomas Jr. writes. The dollar’s upward climb and the growing acceptance that the Federal Reserve will soon increase interest rates are also causing concern. Now, emerging-market currencies are suffering the consequences. The Turkish lira and the Brazilian real have touched multiyear lows against the dollar and the Russian ruble remains volatile. The Mexican peso and the Indian rupee are also under pressure.

In Brazil, allegations of kickbacks and bribes at Petrobras, the country’s energy giant, threaten to derail the economy, Mr. Thomas writes. In Russia, a war with Ukraine and President Vladimir V. Putin’s erratic ways ‒ along with a collapse in the price of oil ‒ have rattled investors. In Turkey, the country’s president has added to existing currency jitters by suggesting that the head of the Turkish central bank is beholden to foreign speculators because he has not lowered interest rates fast enough. And analysts say there are deeper vulnerabilities in these and other emerging markets that will become more acute as the dollar continues to race ahead.

But while currencies have been volatile, capital flows out of emerging markets have not yet approached the levels of a year ago. According to the Institute of International Finance, the trade group for global banks, global flows into emerging markets nearly halved last month, to $12 billion from $23 billion, with money flowing out of Brazil, Ukraine and Thailand and into Indonesia and India. Since the beginning of the year, investors in the world’s largest emerging-markets investment vehicle, the $38 billion Oppenheimer developing markets fund, have withdrawn just $400 million ‒ an amount by no means indicative of investor panic.

Unlucky Plaza: Uniquely S’porean

In Uncategorized on 20/04/2015 at 3:37 am

Go watch Unlucky Plaza (M18) at all theatres
A Ken Kwek movie not to be missed

The story: Driven to the brink of bankruptcy, hard-working Filipino restaurant operator Hernandez Onassis (Epy Quizon) takes on a motley bunch of wayward Singaporeans — a sexy, scheming scam woman, an Ah Long with a gun, a weak-kneed pastor and a motivational speaker (Adrian Pang) up to his neck in debts. Onassis’ weapons of choice: Anger and a meat chopper, which he wields with alarming accuracy.

Well put together with slick cinematography and editing, Singaporean director Ken Kwek’s latest work is the most ambitious to date marrying topicality with mass-appeal cinema. And it is done with admirable even-handedness to all sides of the debate (on the subject of foreigners in Singapore). Moral finger-wagging is kept to a minimum. Once all characters get locked up into one room for the film’s hostage crisis climax, things get cooking – John Lui in The Straits Times

This is what Ken Kwek said of his leading man Epy Quizon:
“Everyone knows that Epy is the son of the legendary Dolphy. But I had the great pleasure of knowing Epy on his own terms, and as a friend. And then I had the privilege of seeing him perform in a work that required talent for both comedy and very hard-hitting drama. I believe Epy has a greater range than his father as an actor. I say this with no less open-mouth admiration for the great Dolphy.”

Watch out … here comes Epy and his chopper.

Clement Mesenas's photo.

Not telling public who posted the above on Facebook, lest Goh Meng Seng or friends are upset with the post.

Uniquely S’porean. A S’porean film, directed by a local talent, starring a Pinoy who takes on a motley bunch of wayward Singaporeans — a sexy, scheming scam woman, an Ah Long with a gun, a weak-kneed pastor and a motivational speaker (Adrian Pang) up to his neck in debts

Couldn’t we have a S’porean hero thrashing crooked FTs trying to steal his lunch or his gal? Oh I forgot Pinoys already stealing our lunch, PRCs stealing our property and money, and Ang Mohs and Indians stealing our gals, and beating taxi uncles and the gals. And all have fake degrees.

But let’s face it, the S’poreans behind the film need to make money, and I’m sure they are hoping for audiences in PinoyLand given the Pinoy’s pedigree and the script of  Pinoy boy roughing up S’poreans. And who can blame them? Going by the way TRE and TOC are living hand-to-mouth, there’s no money here from the masses for things S’porean.

More FTs like him pls

In Malaysia on 19/04/2015 at 4:45 am

Born in Penang, Malaysia, before being raised in Singapore …

The founder and design director of Singapore-based SCDA Architects, Mr Chan has over the past 20 years built up a business that today employs more than 100 architects and designers.

Its past projects around the world range from luxury hotel resorts in Bali and the Caribbean, the National Design Centre in Singapore, a shopping centre in Beijing, a government building in New Delhi, to private houses from France to Malaysia.

Not only that, he got six sons.

And less of Foreign Trash like Han Hui Hui and local trash like Roy Ngerng anf Amos Yee and Lionel de Souza.

Iskandar: Dummies Guide on why it’s rubbish

In Malaysia, Property on 18/04/2015 at 4:08 am

Buy Klang Valley :

Klang Valley, in particular, is preferred because of the upcoming KVMRT and LRT lines, and potential KL-Singapore high-speed rail project, which will end at Bandar …

More importantly, the strong population growth potential in Greater KL and Klang Valley – a possible 40 per cent increase to 10 million by 2020 – offers more sustainable demand for properties, it added.

And Penang instead

Err both Oppo areas.

(Above courtesy of MayBank via CNA)

Sultan of Johor will not be happy. MayBank executives (esp analysts) should avoid JB. Neither will UMNO be happy even though most of Iskandar is in a DAP consituency (MP Lim Kit Siang: he and his son came down to see LKY when the DAP won Penang. Got kow tow meh?)

Caution advised on IskandarLand

The property oversupply situation in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, is “likely to get worse before it gets better”, said Maybank Investment Bank’s research … report, with property values in an increasingly crowded development space possibly declining over the medium term.

In a research note … (Apr 14) urged investors to be cautious about the region, noting that property transactions and prices in Iskandar have been dropping.

The value of property transactions in Johor had fallen by 33 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the Q4 2014, underperforming the country (-7 per cent) and other major cities such as Kuala Lumpur (-12 per cent) and Penang (8 per cent).

Property prices in Johor were also weaker than that of other cities, with the House Price Index (HPI) contracting 1 per cent quarter-on-quarter. In contrast, property prices in the whole of Malaysia dropped 0.2 per cent …

Residential and commercial property transaction values plunged 42 per cent and 43 per cent on-quarter in the fourth quarter 2014, respectively, compared to the 4 per cent dip by industrial properties.

“The latest statistics reaffirm our view that industrial properties are a better investment choice in Iskandar due to the relocation of small medium enterprises (SMEs) from Singapore and its relatively limited supply as compared to residential and commercial properties,” …


… Malaysian developers have scaled back their launches and shifted their product mix to avoid direct competition with Chinese developers, and have lowered sales expectations for their projects at Iskandar.

“Judging from the number of approved high-rise projects, the Iskandar property market could be hit by too much supply of high-rise mixed development projects if there is still no coordinated planning and control – this will induce price volatility,” Maybank analyst Wong Wei Sum …

“The oversupply situation will be exacerbated by the huge incoming supply in 2015/2016, where units under construction have risen 18 per cent year-on-year in 2012 and 2013, respectively.”


… raised concerns about “aggressive landbanking activities” by Chinese developers in the already-crowded Iskandar region.

“Without coordinated planning and control, this could aggravate the oversupply situation and induce price wars, especially in the high-rise mixed development segment.”


For instance, Shanghai-based Greenland Holdings Group recently expanded its foothold in the space with the acquisition of a 128-acre freehold land in the south of Bandar Baru Permas Jaya. This was after its first purchase of 14 acres of land in Danga Bay in 2014. The company is also looking to acquire about 1,200 to 1,400 acres of industrial land near the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex, according to Maybank.

“If this materialises, Greenland will emerge as one of the largest land owners in Iskandar with a total landbank of 1,342 acres and it would pose strong competition to the local developers,” the report said.


… it is “cautious” over “massive land reclamation” in Iskandar.

Reclamation works spanning 3,425 acres for the Forest City project has been given the green light from the Development of Environment. The development will spread over a 30-year period, and will consist of four man-made islands reclaimed in four phases.

“The execution and planning of such reclamation projects is complex, especially Forest City, and carry elements of risk and uncertainty. Hence, developers’ financial positions are paramount; else we may see projects being abandoned or price wars initiated to clear inventories or reduce sales risks by the developers,” …

“More importantly, the failure of any of these projects could erode buyers’ confidence and perception on Iskandar.”

… it remains cautious on property exposure in Iskandar, instead preferring developers with exposure in the Klang Valley and Penang.


Iskandar: Developers must be desperate?

In Malaysia, Property on 11/04/2015 at 4:16 am

Last Saturday, a freesheet published a puff piece on why it’s good to live in Iskandar and commute, and why it’s a good investment. No mention was made of the huge hikes in the tax on driving to and fro.

A day or two later M’sia again hiked it’s vehicle entry fees: by $7.25 I think. We know what the policy here is don’t we? S’pore with match the increase.

Rumour is that M’sian federal govt hiked fees last year, to warn the sultan of Johor not to to seize executive power in the running of Johor.

Will we be seeing Iskandar property ads in the freesheet?

Pinoys still not going home? Why not?

In Economy on 07/04/2015 at 1:25 pm

Manila’s PSE was the top performer – with a gain of 9.8% in Q1. Thailand wa the worst, the  SET pulling ahead by 0.55%. STI managed 2.4% year-to-date.

The Phi;ippines grew at an annualised pace of 6.9 per cent in the final three months of the year, far ahead of the 6 per cent expected by most analysts. The quarter-on-quarter figure of 2.5 per cent was the highest in almost two decades, according to calculations from analysts at Barclays.

Philippine growth

TRE reader’s take on PinoyLand and Pinoys could explain why they still not going home, but prefer to stay here or come here

Peenoy Annoys:

Peenoys overestimate themselves just because the Spore Govt gave them jobs but are in fact is using them as cheap labor. They fail to see that they are being undercut. They get cocky and boastful and are a complete discredit to themselves and their country. And they are just talk and no substance.

Why come to Spore? Because Pinoylands is built on quicksand. If your are worth your salt then go back and contribute to building your slums into a decent habitat.

After all they can discriminate against S’poreans in S’pore

Alleged discrimination based on nationality continued to top the list of complaints received last year by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), with the banking and information technology sectors still the most problematic.

These cases made up half of about 300 complaints in total. However, TAFEP general manager Roslyn Ten said many stem from misunderstanding and not from genuine bias, and urged companies to improve communication with job seekers or existing employees by explaining why, for example, foreigners instead of Singaporeans were hired or promoted. (CNA)

Juz wondering if getting paid less than S’porean is a legit reason for discrimination? Juz asking.

Better not fly on any Thai airline?

In Airlines on 04/04/2015 at 4:09 am

Thailand’s aviation sector is under scrutiny after an international safety audit led to a ban on new flights to China, Japan and South Korea.

Last week the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issued an alert flagging “concerns relating to air operator certification procedures”.

Last week the ICAO issued an alert which triggered increased physical inspections of aircraft operated by Thai airlines serving existing routes to countries such as Australia and Singapore, a regional air hub, as well as a ban on airlines expanding their services.

Fly SIA and associates. Don’t be cheap skate! Can die die if fly Thai. ))))

Update at 5.30am

From CNA on Thurday

The surveillance and ramp inspections of Thai carriers’ aircraft operations in the Republic have been stepped up, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in a news release on Thursday (Apr 2).

Its statement came after the International Civil Aviation Organisation(ICAO) reported “significant safety concerns” in Thai carriers earlier in the year. The Thai government has since said it would urgently improve airline safety in the country.

CAAS added it has not imposed any restrictions on Thai airlines. This is unlike other countries like Japan, who blocked new flights from Thailand last week – a move which affected charter services by budget carriers such as Thai AirAsia X and NokScoot.

In the release, CAAS said it has in place a Foreign Operators Surveillance Programme (FOSP), under which foreign carriers are required to have an Operations Permit from CAAS to operate in Singapore.

The release said that CAAS evaluates an application for an Operations Permit “using a risk-based methodology”, which takes into consideration factors such as the safety oversight capability of the State of Operator, the operational capability of the carrier and the safety records of the aircraft.

“In assessing a foreign carrier’s operations, CAAS takes into consideration safety information from other aviation authorities including the outcomes of the inspections or audits they conduct,” it added.

“CAAS also conducts periodic ramp inspections on the foreign carrier’s aircraft when they are in Singapore; the frequency of which is dependent on CAAS’ assessment of the carrier.”

The regulator assured that any major deficiencies found in the ramp inspections have to be addressed by the carrier for it to continue operations in Singapore.

M’sian politicans want to learn from PAP administration?

In Malaysia on 28/03/2015 at 4:56 am

“Selangor is a key state in Malaysia,” said Mr Azmin, Chief Minister of Selangor. “We will try to emulate some of the policies implemented in Singapore. I will visit Singapore soon to learn how the Housing Development Board develops low-cost houses for the lower-income group. This is one agenda I will give priority to.” CNA

So they going to stop being corrupt?

The passing of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew has prompted some young Malaysian politicians to take a hard look at the kind of leaders they want to be. CNA

Update at 7.20am:

Err maybe they can learn how to make the taxpayers pay them multi-million salaries while they bitch about low pay. Doubtless Grace Fu and Jos Teo can teach them?

Btw, interesting that Robert Kuok disagrees with the idea that ministers should be paid millions, and that pigs (he and LKY are pigs) are greedy by nature

Best teacher US$1m prize: No S’porean in finals

In Uncategorized on 22/03/2015 at 4:54 am

M’sian and Cambodian among the 10 finalists that cied vied for the US$1m  prize.

Guess that’s the reason why our media didn’t report it. But why didn’t the anti-PAP cybernuts report this huge failing of our world class education system? Err maybe they rely on our MSM for their news of world affairs?

The award has been created by the Varkey Foundation, the charitable arm of the GEMS education group, as a high-profile way of demonstrating the importance of teaching.

The attention-grabbing top prize is meant to show that teaching should be recognised as much as other high-paying careers, such as finance or sport …

Among those supporting the project have been Bill Gates, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

The 10 finalists were:

Nancie Atwell, US

Guy Etienne, Haiti

Jacqueline Jumbe-Kahura, Kenya

Neang Phalla, Cambodia

Stephen Ritz, US

Azizullah Royesh, Afghanistan

Kiran Bir Sethi, India

Madenjit Singh, Malaysia

Richard Spencer, UK

Naomi Volain, US

Johor Chief Minister gets it, our PM still doesn’t

In Malaysia on 14/03/2015 at 4:30 am

Following complaints from Singaporeans about the inconsistent housing policies in Iskandar, Johor’s Chief Minister said that he makes policies “that look after the interest of Johor people”. He has the interests of his people above the interests of foreign investors he claims. But given that large sections of the Chinese population in Johor vote for the DAP, they don’t believe him.

Likewise, many S’poreans (self-included) doubts that PM and his PAP administration put the interests of S’poreans above that of FTs even though PM said in 20111 the intake of foreign workers contributed to the Republic’s 14.5% economic growth last year, and subsequently led to the budget surplus and Grow & Share package.


SGX’s FTs still think Singkies still stupid?

In China, Corporate governance on 09/03/2015 at 1:09 pm

Around the time of the Spring Festival celebrations began, the Foreign Trashes managing SGX (president and head rechie are FTs, CEO is leaving) boasted that SGX was planning to attract Chinese cos here. Remember that in Asean, the Thai exchange raises more money than this global financial centre.

Well looks like the FTs still running SGX are hoping that S ‘poreans have forgotten that they lost money in S-chips.

Here’s a reminder that the Cina have not cleaned up their act. During the Spring Feitval hols, London-based directors of Naibu Global revealed they had suspended shares in the Aim-quoted Chinese sportswear maker because executives in China had refused to update them on the co’s finances. Err maybe now that the Spring Festival is over, they’ll contact the London directors. Somehow I doubt it.

FT PRC does us proud

In Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 07/03/2015 at 5:07 am

This S’pore-based co was founded by Forrest Li, an American educated PTC. A foreign talent indeed.

Since starting in 2009, Garena has rapidly expanded into multiple product lines. It started off creating software that linked people up for multiplayer games, then ventured into game distribution.

In 2010, it launched a mobile social network called Garena+, and more recently unveiled a couple of chat apps (BeeTalk is one) and a payment network called AirPlay. It has even launched its own venture capital firm to invest in startups. Garena has invested in Redmart, an online supermarket in Singapore.

The company claims to have 17 million monthly active users on the PC and 11 million on mobile. Most of its users come from Southeast Asia, but it has expanded into Taiwan and Hong Kong as well. It made S$31 million (US$22 million) in revenue in 2012, growing three times from the year before, according to Garena’s financial documents. In 2014, its annual revenue reached US$200 million.

The company is said to have become the top games publisher in Southeast Asia after itreceived an investment from Chinese internet giant Tencent, which also gave Garena an exclusive license to distribute League of Legends in the region.

According to the Financial Times, the OTPP investment values the company at over US$2.5 billion. Garena wouldn’t confirm the valuation figure.

It has reecently raised a new round of funding, led by The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) with participation from existing investors.

FT reported:

In China, e-commerce sales make up more than 10 per cent of total retail sales, according to RHB, a Malaysia bank. That compares with only 1 per cent in the 10 countries of Asean, of which Indonesia is the largest, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.

RHB says there are “no clear dominant regional [Asean] players at the moment” but that the market is “about to take off” given rapid growth in internet penetration and the adoption of mobile technology by young people among the 620m Asean population.

UBS, the Swiss bank, says that most internet traffic in Asean comes from mobile devices as the traditional PC has been circumvented by the arrival of 3G services.

Garena is among a new group of regional online gaming and e-commerce companies that have moved rapidly into Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar with mobile-based applications for gaming and messaging. They include OffGamers, Asiasoft and Nasdaq-listed MOL, a Malaysian group.

Internet-based retailers have also made inroads, including, which has said it aims to be the Amazon of Southeast Asia.



StanChart: New CEO (“inspired choice”*) lacks Asian experience

In Banks, Emerging markets, Telecoms on 03/03/2015 at 1:14 pm

But this lack of Asian experience shows that the directors think that the main priorities for the bank are to shore up capital (rights issue coming) and mending ties with US regulators. He has great credentials for these tasks. Temasek seems to agree. it welcomed Mr. Winters, who “brings with him considerable experience, as well as an excellent reputation for building good teams.”

(*Btw, “inspired choice” is FT’s description)

Still the lack of Asian experience could become a major issue because there is expected to be an exodus of experienced managers. He may find replacements but changes will be disruptive if not problematic.

STANDARD CHARTERED OVERHAULS LEADERSHIP The British bank Standard Chartered responded on Thursday to shareholders’ calls for change, announcing a sweeping management overhaul including the departure of its chief executive, its chairman, the head of Asian markets and several directors, Jenny Anderson and Chad Bray write in DealBook. In a move that surprised many, it named William T. Winters, the 53-year-old former head of JPMorgan Chase’s investment bank ‒ who was once seen as a candidate to succeed Jamie Dimon ‒ to take the helm.

Mr. Winters, who will join the bank on May 1 and become chief executive in June, will succeed Peter Sands, one of the longest-serving chief executives in British finance. He will receive a base salary of 1.15 million pounds, or about $1.8 million, as well as a pension and other benefits. As the bank’s leader, Mr. Winters will not have it easy. The bank has been hurt in recent years by regulatory fines and investigations and by its focus on emerging markets. It has slashed thousands of jobs, closed its stock trading and underwriting unit and is looking to cut $400 million in costs. Impairments for bad loans, including in the mining sector, have soared.

But Mr. Winters, an American, appears up to the task. In a call with reporters, John W. Peace, the chairman, said that Mr. Winters had “great respect among regulators, clients and the market” and a solid understanding of the global regulatory environment. Temasek Holdings, which owns almost 18 percent of Standard Chartered, declined to comment on whether it had pressed for management changes. But it said that it welcomed Mr. Winters, who “brings with him considerable experience, as well as an excellent reputation for building good teams.”

NYT’s Dealbook

Related article:


Iskandar: Hoping for Chinese buyers? Dream on

In Malaysia on 28/02/2015 at 4:48 am

Funny people M’suan developers. They miss fears of a property glut in Iskandar saying that the Chinese from China (not S’pore) will buy the properties.

Well there is a very influential group of Malays in UMNO (the top dog in the ruling National Front) that has a problem with local Chinese. They’d freak out over an influx of real Chinese buyers living in Johor. They are likely to view such buyers as a fifth column for the Chinese enclave off Johor>

And for the developers to assume that the potential buyers are clueless about the racial tensions is an assumption too far.


In Banks on 25/02/2015 at 6:03 pm

The British bank HSBC is facing battles on multiple fronts. Already forced to apologize for helping clients hide their income from tax authorities, the bank also had to explain on Monday why its chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, went to lengths for years to hide his bonus, at least from his co-workers, Jenny Anderson writes in DealBook. On top of all that, HSBC, which generates much of its income from Asia, reported abysmal results for 2014, saying that its profit fell 15 percent, to $13.7 billion, compared with $16.2 billion in 2013.

The Guardian newspaper reported late Sunday that Mr. Gulliver held at least 5 million pounds, or $7.7 million, in a Swiss account through a Panamanian company until 2003. Mr. Gulliver said on Monday that the account was legal and that he had paid all the required taxes, but his maneuvers nevertheless compound a problem for the bank’s reputation, which is still dealing with the fallout from efforts by its Swiss private banking arm to help wealthy clients evade taxes, Ms. Anderson writes.

Mark Gilbert of Bloomberg View writes: “The cascade of recent revelations suggests HSBC still hasn’t learned its lesson and is more of a social menace than a social good. Mr. Gulliver’s personal tax arrangements may not be illegal, but they are surely ill-advised and inappropriate.” Unless Douglas Flint, HSBC’s chairman, “pulls off an Oscar-worthy performance at Wednesday’s parliamentary hearing, HSBC will only have itself to blame if the authorities decide the bank is too big to regulate and respond by seeking its dismemberment.”

NYT Dealbook

Update on 26 Feb 2015 at 6.30 am

More than a tax problem :

Major shareholders getting cranky:

Short S$ long Rupee, US$/ Strong Asean currencies

In Currencies, Emerging markets, India on 23/02/2015 at 12:50 pm

Morgan Stanley is recommending going long on the US dollar against the Singapore dollar, the Thai baht and the South Korean won and a long position in the rupee against the Singapore

Of course MS’s assumption is that US raises rates. Didn’t happen lasy yr when that was conventional wisdom.

But India looks pretty good: As Rivals Falter, India’s Economy Is Surging Ahead Long considered a laggard, India is seeing a lift in its stock market as multinational companies look to expand operations there or start new ones, The New York Times reports.

And according to Credit Suisse, India is a major bet for global EM managers these days. Funds on average hold over 15% of their portfolios in Indian companies, double the benchmark weighting. Gd for them: in USD terms, India’s up 41%

The Indian rupee, the Philippine peso, Thai baht and Taiwanese dollar have strengthened against the US dollar, making repayment of dollar debt easier in these places.

Btw, still long Ascendas India Trust.

S’pore’s GDP growth: Third lowest in Asean

In Economy on 21/02/2015 at 4:45 am

Pay ministers millions for this type of economic management?

What do you think?

Smelling the haze

In Indonesia, Uncategorized on 14/02/2015 at 6:07 am

Don’t know about you, but I could smell the haze in the early morning. today. First time in February, though there vwere quite a number of days in January that I smelt it.

Smell disappears after the sun starts shines.

Indonesia it seems is still burning. Or is it the smoke from Parly? Plenty of smoke from both sides these last few days.

Why Pinoys should go home but don’t: S’pore that great meh?

In S'pore Inc on 07/02/2015 at 4:58 am

Below is an extract from a FT report in late January on the sterling performance of Pinoyland. And the low price of oil means that it’s likely to do better. So gd that “The Philippines’ economic resurgence, driven by domestic demand and economic reforms, has led to renewed interest from Singapore as well as Singapore-based companies,” said Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang. “As the Philippine economy continues to grow, demand for consumer goods and infrastructure development in sectors such as transportation and housing will rise in tandem.”* (CNA 4 th February)

Yet the Pinoy PMETs still prefer to come here. Tells us a lot doesn’t it?

The Philippines has defied regional trends by recording a pick-up in growth in the fourth quarter, as a bounce in government spending gave a fresh boost to one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.

The Southeast Asian country grew at an annualised pace of 6.9 per cent in the final three months of the year, far ahead of the 6 per cent expected by most analysts. The quarter-on-quarter figure of 2.5 per cent was the highest in almost two decades, according …. Barclays.

A rebound in government spending was a key driver of the higher growth rate. Exports also proved strong, with manufacturing growing 10.7 per cent year on year, while the agricultural sector also performed above expectations.

The Philippines has been among the brightest economic stars in Asia since … 2010. Although the annual growth figure of 6.1 per cent is the lowest since 2011, the economy remains one of the fastest-growing in the world.

The acceleration in growth last quarter contrasts with a slowdown in many regional economies, including India, Indonesia and China.

Investors have given the Philippines a clear endorsement in both the bond and equity markets this year. The Manila index briefly rose above 7,700 points for the first time on Thursday, having clocked up a string of record highs in recent days.

This month the Philippines became the year’s first sovereign issuer in the US dollar bond market, selling $2bn of 30-year debt while paying a record low yield. Unlike Indonesia, all three major international rating agencies now regard the Philippines as investment-grade.

Investor demand has helped make the peso the best-performing currency in Asia in the past three months, during which time it has risen 1.5 per cent against the dollar. No other currency in the region has strengthened against the dollar over that period.

The Asian Development Bank expects the Philippine economy to grow 6.4 per cent this year, the highest in the region after China.

Philippine growth

However, some analysts say lower oil prices and the unexpected uptick shown in the latest data suggest the economy may grow even faster.

Research from Capital Economics highlights the country as the world’s biggest beneficiary of the lower crude price.

“The outlook for the rest of the economy is promising. Consumer spending should remain strong on the back of falling oil prices, which will boost consumers’ purchasing power,” … Capital Economics 


*More: Bilateral trade between the Philippines and Singapore hit S$15 billion last year – a 2-per cent increase from 2013. For the Philippines, Singapore is its fourth largest trading partner worldwide and top trading partner in ASEAN.

IE Singapore said there is great potential for Singapore companies to partner both the Philippine government and private sector, especially in developing infrastructure.

Under the Public-Private Partnership Programme introduced by the Philippine government in 2010, several projects have been successfully tendered by Singapore firms such as SMRT and MSI Global.

IE Singapore also said local firms are starting to explore opportunities beyond the capital city Manila into regions such as Cebu and Clark. 

“Singapore at the moment is our second largest investor in investment projects. It’s also the third largest in terms of direct portfolio investments,” said Mr Guillermo Luchangco, the Philippine co-chair of the Philippines-Singapore Business Council. “We do have a very active investment incentive programme. Depending on the type of industry you bring in, it can get a lot of tax incentives and there is ease of bringing in people.”

The Philippines also has one of the highest household consumption expenditure in ASEAN, with a population of 96 million people. This offers considerable opportunities in consumer sectors, across the F&B, fashion and retail categories.


StanChart: Gay Portuguese in running to be CEO

In Banks, Corporate governance, Temasek on 03/02/2015 at 1:34 pm

The CEOs of Llyods and HSBC UK are reported to be hot favourites according to Bloomberg Both are Portuguese. And the latter is gay .

Wespac’s CEO is also in the frame.

Another report says that our very own Gupta (FT turned new citizen) is also a possible candidate.

Given that StanChart is big in M’sia, Hk, India and Indonesia, and wants to be big in China, I somehow don’t think appointing a gay is on the cards

FT’s Lombard thinks that “ex-StanChart guy Alex Thursby” will get the nod.

Alex Thursby, who went on to run ANZ’s Asian businesses and is now the CEO of National Bank of Abu Dhabi. In his current role, he is trying to drive a bank that will become multinational by following trade within the emerging world – what he calls the West-East corridor. But when asked if this looks a lot like a StanChart model, he says: “I think this has similarities with the Standard Chartered of old. The Stanchart model has changed over the years since I was there, and whether it’s changed for better or worse is for others to make a judgment on.”

Thursby’s words are carefully chosen but he’s clearly referring to StanChart’s ventures into financial markets businesses that it used to leave to the pure-play investment banks. And it is notable that the financial markets business is the one that is causing the problems in the bank today; the warning today says that division is the “main challenge” facing the bank and that everything else is in line with expectations. The head of that business, Lenny Feder, is to take a 12 month sabbatical for personal reasons, the bank says, and will not return to that role afterwards.

The financial markets business in StanChart parlance includes some things that others might consider mainstream, like foreign exchange, but it also houses equities and commodities, among other things. Peter Sands, speaking about the reduced performance, said today that the business was being hit by falling volumes in rates, squeezed margins, regulatory changes, and the fact that less business is done in a low-rate environment.

None of which would have had much impact on the Standard Chartered model of old. Which raises a further question: perhaps this most storied and reliable of institutions should get back to doing what it’s good at. It might be boring. But it works.

It jus shuttered its cash equity biz, if you must know.

Why I’m smiling

In Economy on 31/01/2015 at 4:39 am

As the charts below show, real interest rates here are still +ve (juz), and deflation is a’coming. Retirees should love a bit of deflation. But if got mortgage

Change a’coming at StanChart

In Corporate governance, Hong Kong, Temasek, Uncategorized on 26/01/2015 at 3:07 pm

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Temasek and Aberdeen (between them they hold 30% of StanChart) had told chairman Sir John Peace that he must find a replacement for Mr Sands within months or stand down himself.

FT reports the bank is looking to replace Peter Sands this year and has hired a headhunter to look for a successor ASAP. It says that Temasek and Aberdeen hold him responsible for not responding fast enough to a reversal of StanChart’s fortunes.

How many Waterfront cities will eventually be built?

In Malaysia on 24/01/2015 at 4:44 am

After all neither the PRC developers nor their M’sian partners have good reputations for reliability. And then there is the issue of escalating tolls. I heard an interesting story that M’sia raised its tolls (which led S’pore to follow) because the federal govt wanted to send a message to the sultan of Johor to behave. Remember the row when there was an attempt to extend his executive powers? There was a plan to allow him personally senior officials of a Johor state agency invvolved in land development.

The latest is on the east side of Causeway

Here’s a good ST graphic of the various projects

All built on sand: an interesting take on the importance of sand

Other problems for M’sia, Thailand/ Bull pt for Indons, Pinoys and Viets

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 18/01/2015 at 4:24 am

Malaysia … have to cope with lower tax revenue from energy, minerals and other commodities. In Thailand, the central bank is hoping for a lift in public spending to revive growth; but the military-backed government is finding it hard to spend the 2015 budget.

Thailand will need monetary stimulus this year. 


Relatively young countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines drag down the average age.


Debt + deflation: Problems for S’pore, M’sia Thailand

In Economy on 17/01/2015 at 6:07 am

[T]he private sector in Asia-Pacific now owes 1.5 times the region’s combined annual output, according to the Bank for International Settlements. As a big chunk of the borrowing is in the opaque shadow banking system, particularly in China, the debt could be even larger. Either way, servicing the loans requires incomes to increase quickly. Yet, real GDP growth is slowing almost everywhere in the region.


The threat of slowly rising consumer prices slipping into outright deflation is making things worse. Producer prices are sliding across Asia-Pacific. Falling energy costs provide a convenient excuse for margin-starved employers to skimp on pay hikes, just as they did in the late 1980s. That makes the situation harder for borrowers in Malaysia, Korea, Thailand and Singapore, all of which have high household leverage. Persistent lowflation will leave borrowers with higher debt burdens than they expected.


Demographics aren’t helping. Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand are ageing rapidly.


Only in M’sia?

In Malaysia, Uncategorized on 10/01/2015 at 3:37 pm

Homeless people who attended a government-run event in Malaysia were given household appliances as gifts, it’s reported.

Munirah Abdul Hamid, founder of the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen in Kuala Lumpur, …”Some of them came up to me and asked if I would like to buy the appliances as money would have been more valuable to them,” she says, adding that food or clothing would have made better gifts. The federal territories minister, Tengku Adnan, concedes the event wasn’t perfect, describing it as a “trial-and-error experience”, and doesn’t mind if people sell the gifts for money. “They can do as they please,” he says. “Next year, we will improve and give something else to the homeless.”

M’sia, Thailand among 7 best places to retire

In Malaysia, Uncategorized on 10/01/2015 at 4:24 am

(Panama sounds interesting)

And given the strong S$ and the value of property here*, we S’poreans got options to move on and yet remain nearby. Yet people like Goh Meng Seng and Andrew Loh die die want S’poreans to live and die here. They should let S’poreans decide, not insist that real s’poreans sgould stay home.


*Surely the PAP administration has shumething to do with these?

Pinoy and PRC diplomatic behaviour contrasted

In Uncategorized on 09/01/2015 at 4:58 am

(Or “Pinoy Pride at work: OK for Pinoys to threaten, insult S’poreans but not vice versa)

The Filipino embassy told a Filipino nurse to be “extra careful with his social media usage”*, days after the nurse, Edz Ello, made some insulting and threatening comments about S’porean on social media. He has alleged that he did not post the comments, alleging that he was hacked.

An intelligent TRE poster (glad to see more of them posting: too many fools talking cock posting rubbish) pointed out the difference between the official Pinoy response and the official Chinese response when a PRC juz flamed S’poreans:

Sunny Day: During dog incident, one of PRC embassy staff Madam Zhou gave stern rebuke to Sun Xu, had asked him to apologize to Singaporeans, NUS, his teachers and friends and everybody. So contrary to Pinoy govt response. You can be sure that Filipino govt soft action means they don’t disagree with ezo ello totally.

I’d add that China is a regional power and is seen by the US as threatening its regional and global hegemony; yet its officials knows how to behave towards a host country. So unlike the Pinoy officals here, whose country has to run crying and grovelling to the US whenever the Pinoy govt threaten China and get kicked in the face by China for their threats against China. And they still wanted in 2012 Chinese tourists to come gamble in Manila?  Btw, Chinese said the country is not safe.

What accounts for the arrogance of the diplomats and Ello here? They think they own the place juz because they think the first “P” in the “PAP” stands for “Pinoy”?

Whatever it is, we know where people like Ello get their inspiration: their diplomata, who refuse to condemn threatening and insulting behaviour when made by Pinoys but are quick to KPKB about“the few Singaporeans” who have lashed out, and condemned the blog that suggested abusing Filipinos.

“I think it was unfair and racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the blogger had still not been identified.

(My take on the interview

Well shouldn’t he condemn the language used in Ello’s Facebook (even if Ello alleged it wasn’t him), by saying that guests must respect their hosts? Instead the embassy merely tells Ello to be “extra careful with his social media usage”: this could simply mean “keep yr threats and insults about S’poreans among the Pinoy community”?

Maybe the diplomats are like this

We Filipinos are famous for being onion-skinned or easily slighted at perceived insults. While it’s perfectly normal for us to taunt and criticize others, we can’t handle the same when it’s being hurled back at us. Incidents showcasing our extra-sensitivity to insults usually involve a foreigner making either a bonafide racist remark or a humorous jab at us Filipinos. True to form, our reactions would range from righteous indignation to excessive grandstanding. While it is alright to feel incensed, throwing a fit in front of the world would inevitably do us no good at all.


*The Philippine embassy in Singapore has told a Filipino nurse to be “extra careful with his social media usage”, days after disparaging remarks about Singaporeans appeared on his Facebook account, which he said was hacked.

The Facebook post called Singaporeans “loosers” (losers) and expressed hope that “disators (disasters) will strike Singapore”. The Tan Tock Seng Hospital nurse has reported to the police that his account was hacked.

The Philippine embassy added that it has reiterated its previous advisories on the use of social media.

“Since the matter is under police investigation, the embassy advised the person concerned to cooperate fully with the SPF (Singapore Police Force).”

Tan Tock Seng Hospital has said it is working with the police on the investigation.

– See more at:


Ello Ello: Pinoy ambassador has nothing to say?

In Uncategorized on 06/01/2015 at 5:31 am

Double standards of the Pinoy leader in S’pore?

The Philippines ambassador to Singapore, Antonio A Morales … expressed concern about “the few Singaporeans” who have lashed out, and condemned the blog that suggested abusing Filipinos.

“I think it was unfair and racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the blogger had still not been identified.

(My take on the interview

Well, how about the ambasador expressing concern and condemning the fact that Pinoy Ello Ello wants to drive out S’poreans from S’pore and replace them with Pinoys? Or at least since Ello Ello is alleging he was hacked, to remind Pinoys here that they are guests here, not the governing master race, and behave appropriately.  The fuuny thing is that in their home country, the American military are the governing master race: their dollars talk.

But let’s not be too unkind to the Pinoy leader here, when we have someone like William Wan:

Given the PAP administration love of FTs, one wonders why he never was made NMP. Maybe PAP found his love of FTs over S’poreans a tad too much with an election pending?

Ello, Ello thinks we are stupid?

In Uncategorized on 05/01/2015 at 4:57 am

When S’poreans complained to Tan Tock Seng Hospital that a Pinoy radiologist there had ranted about S’poreans on his Facebook page, the hospital reported on Facebook, “Dear all, the staff concerned is one of our nurses. He has reported to the police that his Facebook account has been hacked. We are cooperating with the police on the investigation. Thank you for the alerts and concern.”

Three points about the alleged hacking:

— So easy to hack Facebook meh? My understanding is that Facebook’s defences against hacking are pretty robust and only sophisticated hackers could do such a hacking.

— So why would a sophisticated hacker waste his or her time on an unknown Pinoy FT? Making it seem as though he was insulting S’poreans?

— Seems that anti-S’porean comments have been posted on the now “hacked” FB page in the past. You mean Ello the Pinoy never reads his own FB page? So page has been “hacked” and Ello only juz realised it. He is as clueless as a certain drum-major* from Cathoic High, whose band is alleged to have ignored him because they knew he was wrong, not them?

Seems to me that Ello the Pinoy would be more believable if he had claimed, “Not my page. I’m being fixed.”

Seems to me the Pinoy ambassador who talks provocatively of Filipinos … moving into more sectors of employment at a time when there is mounting concerned that FTs are favoured over locals in the job market has a lot to answer for:

Pinoys will undoubtedly play the victim, citing fear. Let me remind these professional victims and theit allies like Kirsten Han: there are no goons with guns here. That is the Pinoy way, not the S’porean way.

2015: FT thinks PinoyLand safe haven

In Emerging markets on 04/01/2015 at 9:55 am

An Indian FT loves PinoyLand. Why doesn’t he relocate to Manila instead of living here? Maybe no goons with guns here, no traffic jams?

Where can investors hide if emerging markets get into trouble? 

In Asia, the country that comes closest to a sanctuary is the Philippines. Growth is rapid, and government finances are in much better shape than before. In a 2015 beauty pageant, the Philippines might lose out to some larger economies which could reap a reform-led bounty. Still, India and Indonesia are risky bets, while South Korea is flirting with deflation.

But he has a point:

More on why emerging markets can get into trouble in 2015

Emerging markets follow the biblical rule of seven lean years followed by seven rich ones, according to Harvard University economist Jeffrey Frankel. Every fifteen years, a crisis erupts.

By that measure, a rout is almost due. Developing economies have seen six years of brisk credit growth, fuelled by cheap global money. Private and public debt has ballooned. Since the end of 2007, the surge has been 90 percent of GDP in China, 30 percent in Brazil, and 40 percent in the Czech Republic.

These types of excesses typically stop abruptly. Seven years of frenzied petrodollar recycling in Latin America ended with a debt debacle in 1982. A seven-year boom preceded the 1997 Asian crisis. The trigger for the next rout could be an uncontrolled rise in U.S. bond yields, leading to an exodus of capital from developing nations.


Three Asean mkts in top 10 performing mkts of 2014

In Indonesia on 03/01/2015 at 4:40 am

Global markets 1

The Pinoys should go home if they really are proud of their country. Maybe coups are gd for the stock market (Egypt, Thailand)

Pinoy tua kee gives the finger to govt & Meng Seng

In Economy on 01/01/2015 at 5:49 am

Remember earlier this yr, when GMS, Gilbert Goh and various anti-PAP paper warriors were proclaiming victory when the Pinoys called off their “trespass” (taz how GMS spun a Pinoy plan to hold a party at a public space in Orchard Rd)?

They were cock-a-hoop, trumpeting their “victory”. Pinoy pride was badly hurt.

Very recently, the Philippines’ ambassador to Singapore Antonio A Morales says that Filipinos are moving into more sectors of employment

The estimated number of Filipinos working in Singapore tripled in the past decade to about 167,000 as of 2013, according to Philippines census data.


Filipinos are willing to take on jobs for lower salaries, with working conditions unacceptable to Singaporeans.

The trend has made Filipinos “easier to exploit”, disadvantaging both them and Singaporeans, said migrant rights activist Jolovan Wham.

And this at a time when the PAP adminitrastion is saying that it,s tightening FT employment rules. If so how come Pinoys are are moving into more sectors of employment

So it seems the Pinoy colomisation of S’pore continues despite what the PAP administration and Meng Seng says.

What do you think?

Btw here’s more about the PAP administration love of FTs, and Pinoys sliming us. I wrote this in July 2014 but decided not to publish it as I didn’t want to come across as anti-Pinoy (I like being served by Pinoy service staff), nor did I want to be associated a man who helped ensure the PAP’s preferred candidate won the presidential election (I had no issues with the Pinoys partying at Orchard Rd if they could meet the requirements).

But since the ambassador is raising the temperature with his comments (the embassy has form in this respect), I’ll add my my two-pence worth on the issue of Pinoys sliming us and the PAP’s administration love of FTs.

Pinoys vilify us

The education minister said last week [week before 26 July] it is important to go beyond understanding the “main races”.in embracing diversity.

“Singapore has thrived because of our openness to international trade flow, knowledge and cultures, all of which have brought us opportunities and progress. As Singapore moves towards a more diverse landscape, it is important that we continue to embrace diversity,” said Mr Heng.

“We also need to go beyond understanding the main races to respecting all people regardless of race, language or religion, who live and work in Singapore – for the happiness, prosperity and progress of our nation.”

Given that there are about 200,000 Pinoys working here, the largest group outside the “main races”, one can only assume, he is trying to tell us to be nice to the Pinoys.

No wonder there are Pinoys who think that the PAP stands for “Pinoy Action Party”.

It’s the Pinoys in PinoyLand who should learn to understand S’poreans.

Two recent examples of Pinoys defaming us.

Singaporean officials* has assured the Philippines their government is taking steps to address the hate campaign on Filipinos working there.

The assurance was made by the Singapore delegation who participated in Informal Consultations on the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (PSAP).

[Source via TRE]:]

Hate campaign against Pinoys meh?

So how come they were laughing and chatting away last week-end at Lucky Plaza. And Goh Meng Seng is still in HK, and quiet? Juz like Gilbert Goh. Surely if there is a hate campaign, these two men would be shouting themselves hoarse?

What more Pinoys in PinoyLand want? An excuse to burn our flag in PinoyLand and then give us two fingers? They not happy no get visas to come here to earn money and live in a place without fearing goons with guns. Are they being stirred by Pinoys here unhappy that what they tot were the Pinoy Action Party, Pinoy Minister, Pinoy Minister’s Office and Pinoy Police Force they make sure that Pinoys could party in a busy shopping area on a Saturday afternoon.

And this vilification of us is only the latest. A few weeks ago, former ambassador Roy Seneres said the OFW Family party-list will file a protest with the International Labor Organization for violations of relevant ILO conventions relative to the right of workers to decent work and to be treated as human beings not as slaves and/or chattels.

Seneres, founder of the party-list, was reacting to reports that Filipino service workers in Singapore are being put on display in malls in the city-state to attract prospective employers.

Singapore must come out with a clear-cut statement that they have stopped the despicable practice or else the OFW Family party-List will file a protest with the [ILO]” on the matter.

He obviously doesn’t read the newspapers or if he does, doesn’t trust what a S’pore-based diplomat said, or the S’pore govt.

This report appeared a day earlier in the same newpaper.

The Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said a Filipino diplomat in Singapore cast doubt on an online news report that Filipina household workers were being displayed for sale at some of the city-state’s malls.

In a statement, MOM responded “to recent Filipino media reports, based on an online Al Jazeera story, about the treatment of Filipino foreign domestic workers (FDWs) while they are placed with employment agencies (EAs) in Singapore.”

The statement said “we note that when contacted by The Straits Times, the Filipino labor attaché in Singapore, Mr. Vicente Cabe, was quoted as saying that based on his observations, the online article ‘doesn’t seem to have basis’ and that while he saw some FDWs sitting on one side of a room at some agencies, waiting to be interviewed by clients, “ . . . it seems a bit exaggerated to say that there is anything wrong with that.”

The MOM said it visited the EAs in the two shopping centers concerned and did not find any inappropriate “displays of FDWs.”

Its statement added that “the Al Jazeera story also mentioned that some FDWs could be seen demonstrating household or care giving chores within the premises of EAs. As some EAs have training facilities in the same premises as their front offices, it is not unreasonable for FWDs to be performing such chores at the EA’s premises.”

Furthermore, “the same story also suggested that some FDWs were not treated well while in their EA’s care. MOM’s rules are clear that EAs have to ensure the well-being of FDWs in their case.”

The ministry said “inappropriate display of FDWs” at EAs’ premises or advertising them as being “available for hire at cheap or discounted prices” are unacceptable practices. MOM requires EAs to be responsible and accord basic respect in their practices to both their clients—the employer and the FDW—and expects them to exercise sensitivity when marketing their fees or services.”

Btw,  S’poreans don’t go round decribing mixed-parentage S’poreans as mongrels. Pinoys call mixed race Pinoys “mongrels”.

Juz go home pls: Bank president Jim Yong Kim has described the Philippines as the next “Asian miracle” and a global model in fighting corruption, as it emerges from decades as a regional economic laggard.

Related post:

*I pass no comment on whether our officials agreed there was a hate campaign. I sincerely hope that our officials will always defend S’pore and S’poreans against such comments.


Another clueless Asean PM

In Malaysia on 29/12/2014 at 12:00 pm

Golfing while his country is flooding: PM Najib was criticised as photos emerged of him playing golf with President Obama on Christmas Eve.Obama and Razak playing golf on Christmas eve 2014

Our PM and Najib are sons of PMs who are highly regarded as effective, strong leaders. But, they bit like this guy? The grandson of another effective, strong leader?

An undated handout picture released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 27 April 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) looking at a computer screen along with soldiers of a long-range artillery unit at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

Stranger than fiction intro

Worse than oil/ Do it the Pinoy way

In Commodities on 27/12/2014 at 5:26 am


The Pinoys got it right when exporting. it exports people, not exhaustible resources. For full-year 2014, total remittances are likely to hit a record-high USD 23bn. – See more at:

Still want to buy property in M’sia especially Iskandar?

In Malaysia on 21/12/2014 at 4:24 am

Getting cheaper by the day: both prices and M$*.

Soon Fandi will beable to afford to retire in M’sia. But he might find the tolls too expensive: S$13.10 to JB and S$12.40 at Tuas, and another S$7.70 (M$20) from next yr according to M’sian govt.

*Updated at 5.45pm

The Singapore dollar continued to weaken against the US dollar on Friday (Dec 19). While currency strategists are anticipating the downward trend to continue – with the US Federal Reserve expected to hike interest rates – they also see the Singapore dollar maintaining a strong position against some of its regional counterparts.

The US economy is showing strong signs of recovery as indicators like growth and jobs continue to gather momentum – that is helping to drive up the greenback as the US Federal Reserve tightens its monetary policy.

The Singapore dollar has been on a steady downward slide in recent months and currency strategists expect it to end the year fairly stable at around S$1.31.

Mr Khoon Goh, a senior FX strategist with ANZ, said: “For the Singapore dollar, we are expecting it to be fairly stable going into the year-end. Based on current levels, it will probably end at around the S$1.31 level. Heading into the next year, we are expecting a further depreciation of the Singapore dollar. We are forecasting a year-end 2015 target of 1.33. 

“This is a fairly modest depreciation against the US dollar, and that is partly because we expect the Monetary Authority of Singapore to continue to maintain its policy of a modest and gradual appreciation of the SGD NEER basket. Against other regional currencies, however, I think that is where the SGD is set to outperform.”

Against regional currencies, the Singapore dollar has hit historical highs against the Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah. It has also gained ground on the yen due to monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.

“In that sense, the Singapore dollar has held up quite well against these currencies, but the Singapore dollar has also underperformed against the likes of the Thai baht, Philippine peso and Chinese currency,” said Mr Sim Moh Siong, director and FX strategist at the Bank of Singapore.

“The ‘middle of the pack’ ranking will likely stick as we head into next year. If you look at the Singapore dollar relative to its basket, it has been pretty stable, even amidst the emerging market turbulence led by the big drop in the Russian rouble and oil price decline,” he added.

Amid current volatility linked to oil price declines, the Singapore dollar has been relatively stable compared to currencies of oil exporting economies. With its strong fundamentals, it is being seen as a safe haven among regional and emerging market currencies. Therefore, market watchers said that it remains attractive to investors in times of financial market uncertainty.


Aberdeen Asia Smaller Cos Inv Trust

In Uncategorized on 20/12/2014 at 5:57 am

Aberdeen Asia Smaller Companies Investment Trust

In November this yr, mgr was quoted as saying the fund was looking expensive.

Double confirm StanChart’s rogue bank & PAP apologist is a fool

In Banks, Hong Kong, Temasek on 10/12/2014 at 11:10 am

Remember a “PAP is always right” man KPKBing when StanChart was charged that the reulator was a “rogue regulator”. StanChart then made the dean of LKY School look dumb, really dumb, by pleading guiltyy

Double confirm that StanChart is a rogue bank and the PAP apologist is a fool because now: The management of Standard Chartered is facing renewed pressure after being placed under fresh scrutiny by US regulators.

Two years after being fined more than £400m for breaching US sanctions towards Iran, the bank revealed that a two-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that was imposed at the time was being extended for three years.

The US authorities are now investigating whether Standard Chartered breached its sanctions rules beyond 2007, the period when the previous offences for which the bank was penalised took place.

Looks like Santa didn’t bring Ho a nice Christmas present, giving her a turd instead. Juz look at share price chart from FT. [Chart added at 11.30 am]

Standard Chartered share price

Help out Singkie investors, retire to Malacca or Penang

In Malaysia on 06/12/2014 at 4:36 am

Unlike me, a friend’s friend has done his research on retiring in M’sia. Renting a place is the biggest expense (like me he doesn’t believe in buying in M’sia*) and the cheapest place to rent in a near-to-S’pore urban environment is Malacca or Penang.

This is because S’poreans who invested in apartments there have serious problems renting them out. They forgot that land is plentiful even in Malacca and Penang.

So do yr fellow S’poreans and yrself a favour, go retire in Penang or Malacca. And there is the added advantage of easy access to first-world medical treatment at M’sian prices.

Btw, he calculates that a couple can live in Penang or Malacca very comfortably at S$2,500 a month. To retire to Cameron Highlands (my fav) is more expensive (S$3,500). Rent is expensive there as development is controlled.


Singapore took a tumble on the list of 50 Most Inspiring Cities in the World, down from number two last year to number 21 this year.

The GOOD City Index describe itself as a celebration of the 50 cities around the world that best capture the elusive quality of possibility.

The index looked at eight areas; hub for progress, civic engagement, street life, defining moment, connectivity, green life, diversity, and work/life balance.

Hong Kong took the top spot on the list this year, climbing up from the 24th position last year.

Other regonal cities on the top 50 list include Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo.–sector.html


*latest example of capriciousness of M’sia’s rulers: the Malacca state govt is planning to seize property that the Portuguese, Dutch and British handed out.

Offshore & Marine: Calls, dogs and TLCs/ Whither oil?

In Energy on 03/12/2014 at 2:52 pm

Below is a piece from a broker on smaller cap O&M plays.. My view is don’t play, play. Buy two of Temasek’s Fab 5 and ride the upswing and sleep peacefully if oil prices remain low for a long time.

according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sembcorp Marine Ltd. (SMM), the world’s second-biggest oil-rig maker, is down 29 percent this year, the index’s worst-performing stock.

Keppel Corp. Ltd. (KEP), which earned 69 percent of its revenues from the offshore and marine sectors in the quarter through September, is down 20 percent, the third-worst performer.

Many of the stocks in report posted by a friend on Facebook cannot survive prolonged period of oil at present levels.


OSK Report

Could Yesterday Be Capitulation?

Singapore oil and gas (O&G) stocks dropped 5-16% yesterday when Brent crude
fell 2% intra-day to USD67.50/bbl. A capitulation? We see at worst a 10-15%
short-term oil price downside from here before bumping up against marginal
deepwater costs, which form the oil price floor from a fundamental
perspective. The market’s fear is palpable, creating a positive environment
for mid-term returns for investors who can ride out the volatility.

What’s the downside? Today, global oil production stands at c.92m
barrels/day, c.70% onshore, c.20% shallow water and c.10% deepwater. Oil
demand is still growing 1.5% annually, while US shale supply has exceeded
forecasts. To maintain this production level to meet demand, deepwater
sources with marginal costs at USD40-80/barrel (bbl) must remain
profitable. Using the range’s mid-point, prices could go 10-15% lower in
the short term before a physical supply crunch. Oil traders know this and
will likely not extend shorts beyond USD60/bbl.

The oil market is heavily-speculated, too. Investors tend to forget that
the oil market is a human one too, prone to overreaction to peaks and lows.
Oil-related stocks now appear to be swinging in response to oil traders’
moves, which completely ignore company fundamentals.

What is made can be unmade. Cheerful media articles are now talking about
oil going to the USD36/bbl range (financial crisis low) or the USD12/bbl
range (in the 1980s when Saudi Arabia last defended market share). They
ignore the fact that the financial crisis low was caused by a global credit
crunch, forcing traders to take liquidity out from any source. The 1980s
environment was that of a global recession when oil demand fell 10%
cumulatively and when 90% of the oil was produced onshore. Such conditions
do not exist today. The recent price fall was more or less engineered by
the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) decision to
maintain production, which takes a simple production cut to undo.

Our Top Picks at USD70/bbl oil. Oil prices at this level will hit
ultra-deepwater hard, but shallow-water fields (at USD25-50/bbl) remain
strongly profitable and production-related work are unlikely to be
significantly affected. We continue to like selected Singapore O&G stocks
that entered this correction with starting valuations already low, which
have since become 35% lower. Our Top Picks are Giken Sakata (GSS SP, BUY,
TP: SGD0.65), Ezion (EZI SP, BUY, TP: SGD2.65), Nam Cheong (NCL SP, BUY,
TP: SGD0.61), Pacific Radiance (PACRA SP, BUY, TP: SGD1.55) and Marco Polo
Marine (MPM SP, BUY, TP: SGD0.60). They have strong 12-month earnings
growth and low valuations, unique industry positions and a focus on
shallow-water operations that can lead to a strong re-rating when the
market stabilises. We are negative on Vard (VARD SP, SELL, TP: SGD0.57) and
PACC Offshore Services (POSH SP, NR) for their deepwater exposure.

And watch out.

Swiber and Ezra Holdings Ltd. are scheduled to repay S$720 million ($552 million) of notes within the next two years, or three-quarters of the borrowers’ market value, after funding expansion.

Swiber, with a market value of about $150 million, has raised the equivalent of $289 million in four bond sales this year, three in Singapore dollars and one in offshore yuan. The October 2016 notes issued at par in April traded at 92.99 cents Nov. 27, while the June 2016 bonds sold in May were at 94.65.

Swiber had negative operating cash flow of $5.3 million in the quarter through September, according to its latest results, and total bonds and loans climbed to $1.23 billion at Sept. 30 from $837.7 million at the end of 2013.

“The company is aware of current market concerns surrounding the oilfield services sector as a result of the recent weakness in oil prices,” a Swiber spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “Swiber has developed good longstanding and supportive relationships with its banks, and is confident of its ability to meet existing debt obligations when these come due.”

Ezra Holdings’ total liabilities were $2.2 billion at the end of August, a 22 percent leap from a year earlier. Its 2016 bonds issued in March dropped more than two cents in as many months, Bloomberg compiled prices show.

Oil’s correction should be temporary as a lack of substitutes will ensure strong demand, said Eugene Cheng Chee Mun, chief financial officer of Ezra Holdings.

“We are proactively looking at refinancing options,” said Cheng Chee Mun. The company is at the peak of the capital expenditure cycle and should start increasing free cash flow next year and hence start to deleverage, he said.

Backgrounder from NYT’s DealBook dated Monday

Oil prices have come under pressure as global output of crude oil exceeded demand this year. In particular, domestic oil production has soared more 70 percent over the last six years, to roughly nine million barrels a day. The country is still a net importer, but with production growing by more than a million barrels a day every year, it is importing less and less almost every month. Imports from OPEC producers have been cut by more than a half in recent years, forcing increasing competition among Saudi Arabia and other exporting countries seeking to replace the American market with Chinese and other Asian markets. The tumbling price in oil has produced economic hardship and potential political problems for OPEC producers like Venezuela and Iran.

How low can oil prices go? Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust, told Reuters, “Crude seems to have no floor right now, and we could easily see the price drop into the low $60s.” Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup, told The Wall Street Journal, “There’s lower prices ahead.” On Monday morning, benchmark futures in New York and London slumped as much as 3.7 percent, before making up some of those losses. “It’s clear that a production war is on and it will be survival of the fittest,” Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said in an email to Bloomberg News.

Big StanChart shareholder still likes stock

In Banks, Emerging markets, Temasek on 02/12/2014 at 4:17 pm

The second biggest shareholder in Standard Chartered (after Temasek with around 27%) is standing by the embattled Asia-focused bank, continuing to buy the stock and insisting that nothing is “fundamentally wrong” with the company.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, said that funds run by his company have been “buyers of the stock in a fairly modest way,” despite a series of profit warnings that have sent Standard Chartered’s share price down 33% this year.

“We do not think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the bank,” said Mr. Gilbert, during a call to discuss Aberdeen’s results. He said that revenue growth had slowed but added that he would prefer the bank’s existing management team, headed by chief executive Peter Sands, to “sort it out” rather than looking for a replacement: “They have to really get on with it, I would say, and have a look at the costs.”

Aberdeen owns 7% of the bank, according to Factset, and, as of Oct. 31 2014, that had not changed since last year. Some Aberdeen funds have “topped up” their positions this month however, according to an Aberdeen spokesman.

The value of Standard Chartered shares held by the emerging markets-focused fund manager slid from a peak of $5.1 billion in February last year to $2.6 billion in October, according to Factset data. Part of that was due to an 8% reduction in the size of Aberdeen’s stake at the end of last year, but most was due to the bank’s falling share price.

Temasek is one of the shareholders pressing for a change of mgt, other reports claim.


StanChart credit rating downgraded! First time in 20 years!

In Banks, India, Indonesia, Temasek on 29/11/2014 at 10:20 am

But no need to panic or curse Temasek*: Standard & Poor’s says bank is going through times but it still among world’s most creditworthy commercial lenders.

It has some big exposures to heavily indebted clients, such as India’s Ruia brothers, who control the Essar Group, and Indonesian billionaire Samin Tan.

Honest mistakes.


But the facts won’t stop Philip Ang, TOC’s and TRE’s star analyst, from cursing and ranting: he’s so bad that in a piece on a GIC, London investment, he left out the rental yields out of his calculation because he said that the income was “peanuts” (my word, not his). Well commercial property yields are a gd 6%, and have been as high as 8% in some yrs recently.


Lesson for paper generals: How an economy fares after a coup

In Economy, Uncategorized on 29/11/2014 at 4:14 am

OK it’s Thailand but given the performance of ex-genewrals like BG Yeo, NOL’s CEO and SMRT’s CEO (still can’t fix security issues, let alone get the trains to run on time), if SAF stages a coup after a freak election, we’ll be like Thailand in no time..

Six months after the military coup in Thailand

The latest GDP figures have eked out small increases, leading the government’s economic forecasting agency to predict growth of just 1% this year.

Worryingly, since the coup, tourist numbers have fallen by 20% as travel warnings issued by governments have deterred some visitors.

StanChart bosses apologise to shareholders

In Banks, Temasek on 13/11/2014 at 1:48 pm

Top bosses at Standard Chartered admitted the bank’s performance had been disappointing as they announced plans to close 100 branches in a $400m (£250m) cost-cutting drive to win back support from disgruntled investors.

The admission was made as the bank’s top management team began three days of presentations to investors, who have endured a 30% drop in share values. There are also concerns about whether the bank has enough capital.

At the start of the three-day presentation, the new finance director, Andy Halford, said: “We recognise our recent performance has been disappointing and are determined to get back on to a trajectory of sustainable, profitable growth, delivering returns above our cost of capital.”

HORRORS: S’pore next to bottom in Asean ranking?

In Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 08/11/2014 at 7:18 am


Real GDP growth forecasts


The Thais can blame the political problems there. Govt here blames the “deft” locals for insisting that govt cuts back on its uber liberal immigration policy? To be fair, we’ve the only developed country in Asean, so lower growth rates are par for the course. Tell that to TRE ranters and other anti-PAP paper warriors: they blame the PAP for everything that isn’t “right” here. .


Asian economies GDP chart

Things go better with Coke in Indonesia

In Indonesia on 08/11/2014 at 4:44 am

Coca-Cola to Buy Stake in Indonesian Unit for $500 Million. Coca-Cola will come to the aid of its Australian affiliate Coca-Cola Amatil by taking a 29 percent stake in a struggling Indonesian business for $500 million, Reuters reports. The deal effectively values the Indonesian unit at $1.7 billion.

Chart: Quenching Indonesia's thirst

StanChart directors to push for chief’s succession plan

In Banks, China, Corporate governance, Emerging markets, Hong Kong, Temasek on 01/11/2014 at 11:06 am

Above is FT’s headline for today.

Ho, Aberdeen, Blackrock and L&G baring their fangs? TRE ranters and other anti-PAP paper activists, pls note that Temasek has been pushing for a succession plan for some time.

Standard Chartered data

But they can rejoice ’cause  sharesclosed at £9.39 on Friday – down from £18 less than two years ago.

They will be celebrating.



Sentosa: Better value in Asean/ Bali sounds value for $

In Uncategorized on 01/11/2014 at 5:20 am

Last Saturday, Today triumphantly proclaimed

For the second year running, Sentosa has been named Southeast Asia’s most expensive island destination by TripAdvisor in a cost comparison report.

The TripIndex Island Sun Report 2014 by the world’s largest travel site looked at the cost of an overnight stay in a four-star hotel, dinner for two, beers, a one-hour massage for two, and bicycle and kayak rentals at 16 popular island destinations across South-east Asia in its study.

 In comparison with Bintan, the second-most expensive island on the index, a day out for two on Sentosa island would set visitors back by S$1,005.53, almost twice the amount it would cost in Bintan, which totalled S$694.70.

 A massage for two costs S$315.33 on Sentosa, three times more than Boracay in the Philippines (S$93.11) and six times more than Phu Quoc, Vietnam, where it costs S$50.67. Bicycle rental on Sentosa for two costs S$90, but only costs S$10.94 in Lombok and S$5.29 in Bali.

Hotels were the most expensive item on the list, making up about half of the total cost for most islands.


It then realised that this wasn’t putting Sentosa in a gd light and swerved, as bwfits a constructive, nation-building newspaper, The Singapore island had a very different value proposition from the other South-east Asian islands and that TripAdvisor’s findings did not give a full and accurate representation of its value-for-money offerings.

“A two-course meal for two with drinks can be had for less than S$50 at some of the dining venues on the island. Guests to Sentosa can also enjoy good value through our PlayPass, which gives them the flexibility to choose from various attractions on the island at affordable rates,” he said.

“Locals who sign up for our Islander membership programme also get to enjoy unlimited entry to Sentosa all year round, in addition to many other discounts and privileges.”

And spun on, TripAdvisor also noted in its report that Sentosa offered world-class attractions, despite the higher cost in comparison with the other more affordable islands, and that it was home to a diverse selection of themed attractions and leisure experiences that appeal to guests with different interests and of any age group.

Those attractions included Singapore’s first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa, which operates South-east Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park, the S.E.A. Aquarium, Maritime Experiential Museum and the Adventure Cove Waterpark, said the travel site.

Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A. Aquarium were also given 2014 Travellers’ Choice awards.

The value propositions are, At the other end of the spectrum were Gili Trawangan (Indonesia), Bali (Indonesia) and Koh Samui (Thailand) — the three most affordable islands in the region. Gili Trawangan offered the best value for money, costing travellers no more than S$300 for a day on the island.



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