Posted by: raishussin | January 16, 2017

RM FREE FALLING IN BOLEHLAND

  1. Malaysia’s Ringgit is set for a further skid after skirting an historic low of RM4.50 versus the US Dollar at the start of the New Year.
  2. While there remains strong support at this psychological level, the culmination of stimuli strongly suggests the market will break through the floor in coming months.

No Money No Honey

  1. The first and the foremost of which is that the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Malaysian Central Bank, doesn’t have the adequate reserves to scare off the 800 pound gorillas that swing around the forex markets.
  2. Reserves just under US$100 billion, there is a real risk of a double jeopardy where being forced to sit on the side-lines allows market forces a free-hand to sell and short-sell at will; or alternatively that any persistent attempt at intervention will deplete reserves to dangerously low levels – both scenarios thereby sparking off more panic amongst holders of the Ringgit Malaysia (RM).
  3. Bank Negara’s stance in the past has been to intervene to support the currency floors, but this is solely restricted to holding the spot price in place, while concurrently sending the forward markets plummeting and rates for hedging the Ringgit into overdrive, much to the consternation of not only commercial participants in cross-border trade but also the region’s other central bankers whose currencies are in turn negatively affected by Bank Negara’s intervention.

You Got Trumped

  1. Global currency markets got a hit of pure volatility directly into its veins with the shock win of the anti-establishment candidate in America’s Presidential elections, this coming on the back of the one-two punch of the Brexit win in England.
  2. Stating the obvious, it’s not business as usual these days, folks. Relying solely on historical precedents is a dangerously naïve stance at this point in time.
  3. The speedball topper on this is the spike in short-term interest rates, coupled with expectations of sustained increases during Trump’s first term in office.
  4. Even with stabilized rates, the levels have now been reset, which argues for new dollar trading ranges amongst corresponding global currencies – a trend which is already underway in the Chinese Renminbi, British Pound and Euro.
  5. Countries with relatively high US dollar exposures should be harder hit, Malaysia being a leading candidate with US$3.5 billion in outstanding short-term dollar debt due in 2017 alone thereby making Malaysian banks amongst the most dependent on dollar funding in Southeast Asia.

Hints of Harare

  1. Malaysia is fast sliding down the rankings amongst developed democratic states in terms of political freedoms, human rights, institutional credibility, independent judiciary and authoritarian controls.
  2. All these failings contribute to an erosion of the rule of law, which is without exception the single most important factor for both domestic reinvestment as well as inbound foreign investment.
  3. Despite its constitutional parliamentary democracy, Malaysia is looking more and more like a police state under a power-obsessed dictator, with parallels to Marcos’ Philippines and Suharto’s Indonesia.
  4. In a few short steps it might even be spoken of in the same breath as Zimbabwe under Mugabe – perhaps the best contemporary example of a failed state laboring under the twin beasts of stagnant economic growth and rampant hyperinflation.
  5. Just as the world condemned Mugabe for his authoritarian policies and racist attitudes which have turned both the state and its citizens into pariahs, the parlor talk on Malaysia has turned decidedly ignominious.
  6. And while they haven’t been shown the door just yet, it’s apparent that Malaysian leaders’ continued presence swanking about on the global stage is becoming an increasingly embarrassing social faux pas for their hosts.
  7. The effect on the Zimbabwean Dollar is well documented, and every desperate new measure taken by Harare to prop up its value such as the new “bond note” currency introduced last year is met with derision in the marketplace.
  8. If the Malaysian currency (RM) continues its slide against the dollar, it’s not unthinkable that a dollar peg or other stop-gap means will tip the scales and trigger an outflow of Ringgit outside the country, prompting a critical shortage.

Punter’s Paradise

  1. The big boys of the institutional financial marketplace are always on the lookout for decent odds on which they can place a sizeable bet. For multi-billion institutions, there is no better gambling den than global currency markets, with comparatively low transaction fees, deep liquidity and multi-product efficiencies.
  2. While it’s not always politically polite to thumb your nose at sovereign states, many have been disarmingly candid about their aggressive short stance on the Ringgit Malaysia.
  3. BNP Paribas Investment Partners, which manages over US$600 billion in assets, has gone on record in the past stating they’re shorting the Ringgit Malaysia across the board, as has Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO), which oversees US$1.52 trillion and it is one of the world’s largest macro funds.
  4. The risk / return trade-off on shorting the Ringgit may have diminished with the recent drop in price, but the negative sentiment momentum against the currency remains strong and for bulge-bracket speculators there is safety in numbers, with each fund closely monitoring the activity of its competitors to ensure, amongst other things, that they don’t miss an easy windfall.

Gajah Putrajaya

  1. Too many pundits make the case against the Ringgit Malaysia without citing the elephant in the room, the one that rules the Nation with an increasingly heavy hand. Currency speculation is a macro trade, and so it is necessary to acknowledge the source of soured foreign and domestic investor confidence.
  2. Whether or not the current administration can withstand the backlash of angry voters and a revamped and coalescing coalition in the next general election – likely to be called early this year instead of in 2018 – there will be plenty of political uncertainly fueling a wait and see attitude, and any negative turn on sentiment – which seems unavoidable – will further hobble the Ringgit Malaysia.
  3. Lastly, but not least, it is also true that a free falling Ringgit Malaysia, may be the last remaining catalyst to achieve real political change for the better in Malaysia, despite the inevitable fallout of economic hardship upon her citizenry.
  4. Certainly such a hypothesis is not without historical precedent, the Asian Currency Crisis of the late 1990’s having sent other stubbornly longstanding regional strongmen packing; and even nearly toppling Malaysia’s own Goliath of the day, now back in a new avatar as David and for whom the Ringgit Malaysia may be his most effective slingshot.
  5. Think and Reflect !

 

Posted by: raishussin | December 31, 2016

A Year-end Ode to Malaysia

  1. As we usher in the New Year, the reviewers of 2016 all seem to strike low notes, despairing the Nation’s trust deficit, economic gloom, racial tensions, political discord, and more in the same vein.
  2. It’s easy to descend into melancholia over our sad state. The Ringgit closing the year at a historic low to the US Dollar is perhaps the clearest reflection of the sentiment that we’ve reached a low point.
  3. Rather than rehash all that has gone wrong on our watch and recounting each and every misdeed and injustice, I’d rather take a different tack and say to you, my fellow Malaysians, that our journey is over hills and the sea. As the poet Kipling narrated, the ups and downs and tumult of life has its own calling and despite the roller-coaster ride and turmoil we are drawn to it by an unseen hand.

Who so desires the Sea?

  1. As a nation we are facing the full might of the heave and hurl and the crash of boundless sea, and our task ahead is to save ourselves from its grey, foamless, enormous, and crazy-eyed madness.
  2. This means that our society must come together in the days and years ahead to act with integrity, live with insight, instill one another with inspiration, and most importantly to vote with conscience.
  3. Remember that the Sea can slacken but she can also thrill, so gather yourself for the voyage ahead.
  4. As a people we have been torn by the immense and contemptuous surges of lies and injustice. Instead of standing firm against these outrages, many chose to shudder, stumble, and swerve.
  5. The strength of our rakyat is in its unity, and no blunt force may break it if it remains committed to the common good instead of the unwarranted gain of a few elite at the expense of so many others.
  6. Take heart that the orderly clouds will eventually replace the lightning and thunder of the storm.
  7. Those who have voiced their dissatisfaction and dissent have felt the wrath of swift menaces without any mercies. The unstable hand at the helm has steered the ship to this groaning course.
  8. It is our duty as patriots to task ourselves with the restoration of our Nations honor and well-being as a labor of love, despite the temporal discomfort and dangers that may come along the way.
  9. Have faith that just as our fathers have dared to traverse the Sea, so our children shall dare it also.
  10. Our leaders’ foremost regard must be to serve their people. Their loneliness in their kingly courts must not distance them from the outermost streets where common men are beyond their reach.
  11. This oversight of the rakyat is truly a betrayal of the office, the constitution, the institutions, and the very foundation upon which the house of the Nation is built to last for generation after generation.

Hillmen desire their Hills

  1. Just as hillmen desire their hills, we Malaysians desire our beloved Nation back and must yearn to the noble task of reclaiming it from those who have usurped the land and thrown us out to water.
  2. Hence, please think and reflect how can we, how must we, reclaim our Malaysia from the hands of those who have destroyed it.
  3. The opposition coalition must think beyond party lines and must forge an unshakeable unity to take on the power of incumbency of the existing administration i.e. UMNO/BN.
  4. It is time to think and act for the opposition coalition, how best to win the election, form the next government to save the nation. Magnanimous negotiations in seats allocation, common manifesto and power sharing is more important than advancing one’s party’s agenda. For once, let it be, genuinely the people’s agenda.
  5. Will we for the very first time, think magnanimously, negotiate magnanimously and act magnanimously, as the alternative means, a continuous theft of the nation by the current administration.
  6. More than any time in the history of Malaysia, people are yearning for change, hoping for a credible alternative. Will the opposition coalition rise to the occasion of providing such stewardship or brittle to their own party and petty ways, enabling the ruthless UMNO/BN to continue their theft of the nation?
  7. If the opposition coalition fails this time, there will be no better time in the future to wrest the power as UMNO/BN will consolidate its power base and the biggest losers will be the people, the rakyat.
  8. So if the opposition coalition is serious about bringing change and hope for the people, they must focus their energy towards winning the general elections, forming the government and saving the nation. No other party, petty or personal issues must be given prominence. So start the ball rolling magnanimously and stay focus on saving the nation.
  9. Don’t expect a different result by doing the same thing. Think and reflect!
  10. God knows we need a better year from the disastrous 2016.
  11. I hope it will be a Happy New Year 2017!
Posted by: raishussin | December 11, 2015

Blind Obedience Debunked !

  1. UMNO President Najib Razak talked about obedience and loyalty to leaders as a Quranic obligations and Prophetic tradition in his opening address at the UMNO GA. I came across the following article that clearly debunk blind loyalty to a leader, particularly in the realm of Islamic Leadership. Please read the following postings by Seyed Ibrahim before judging whether Najib Razak has misused Quranic text and Hadiths narration to justify his own misdeeds and indiscretion and demand blind obedience.
  2. The whole inaugural speech of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (RA) fits in a paragraph. But, it was a classical & moving speech. It touched upon several critical elements, including Governance, Justice, relationships between the ruler and citizens, external & domestic affairs. It was an uncomplicated speech.
  3. The Prophet(pbuh) had just died and was not even buried yet. Muslims were in a state of shock. They convened in the courtyard of Banu Saa’idah to choose a leader. They didn’t want the state that was built over a period of 10 years to collapse. They chose Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (May Allah be pleased with him) as the Khaleefa.
  4. The Speech – “O people, I have been appointed over you, though I am not the best among you. If I do well, then help me; and if I act wrongly, then correct me. Truthfulness is synonymous with fulfilling the trust, and lying is equivalent to treachery. The weak among you is deemed strong by me, until I return to them that which is rightfully theirs, insha Allah. And the strong among you is deemed weak by me, until I take from them what is rightfully (someone else’s), insha Allah. No group of people abandons military/armed struggle in the path of Allah, except that Allah makes them suffer humiliation. And evil / mischief does not become widespread among a people, except that Allah inflicts them with widespread calamity. Obey me so long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. And if I disobey Allah and His Messenger, then I have no right to your obedience. Stand up now to pray, may Allah have mercy on you” [Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (6/305,306)]

Lessons

  • The right of citizens to scrutinize their leader & to hold him accountable. When Abu Bakr (RA) said “If I do well, then help me; and if I act wrongly, then correct me“, he affirms the right of citizens to hold their leaders accountable for their actions. Also, this makes it clear that the era of prophetic infallibility was over. From now on, the leaders are susceptible to make mistakes. These days, even in the western nations, the freedom of expression against the rulers is at best tolerated. In the Islamic caliphate of Abu Bakr, the citizens are expected (not just allowed) to correct their leaders
  • Truthfulness should be the basis of all dealings between a leader and his people “Truthfulness is synonymous with fulfilling the trust, and lying is tantamount to treachery”. Abu Bakr announced that truthfulness should be the basis of all dealings between a leader and his people. This needs to be the case if the people are to develop a sense of trust in their leader.
  • Establishing the principles of Justice and Equality. Abu Bakr (RA) said, “The weak among you is deemed strong by me, until I return to them that which is rightfully theirs, insha Allah. And the strong among you is deemed weak by me, until I take from them what is rightfully (someone else’s), insha Allah”. The most important foundations of a truly Muslim country are justice and equality for all. Applying justice is not a “nice” thing. Fakhr al-Razee says, “the scholars of this nation unanimously agree that it is obligatory for a ruler to establish justice in his realm” [Tafseer al-Razee (10/141)] The justice of Abu Bakr (RA) and other early caliphs won the hearts of many people, including enemies, and made them to embrace Islam.
  • Virtue of military expeditions / armed resistance. Abu Bakr (RA) said, “No group of people abandons military/armed struggle in the path of Allah, except that Allah makes them suffer humiliation“. Though Muslims had controlled the entire Arabian Peninsula at the time of Prophet’s death, there were internal and external enemies who threatened the Muslim nation. The importance of military ability, if not the supremacy, was not lost on Abu Bakr.
  • War against wickedness and shameful acts. Abu Bakr (RA) said, “And wickedness does not become widespread among a people, except that Allah inflicts them with widespread calamity“. He understood that the material well-being of his nation depended upon its spiritual well-being. Prophet (pbuh) said, “Wickedness does not appear among a people, to the point that they perform wicked deeds openly, except that plagues and diseases become rampant among them – plagues and diseases that did not exist during the lifetimes of their ancestors…” [Ibn Maajah (4019), Saheeh al-Albanee (2/370)] Also, please see Qur’an 17:16
  • Sources of legislation & a declaration that the leader is not above the law. He said, “Obey me so long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. And if I disobey Allah and His Messenger, then I have no right to your obedience“. This made it clear he is going to follow only the Qur’an and Sunnah, and that obeying the leader is contingent upon the leader following Qur’an and Sunnah. Prophet said, “There is no obedience when it comes to sinning; obedience is restricted to al-Ma’roof (good, noble and acceptable in Islam)…” [Bukharee (7140)] Also, please see Qur’an 4:105

Questions To ponder:

  • What are the characteristics of Leadership in Islam ?
  • What are the criteria of leaders in Islam ?
  • Does leaders of UMNO today fulfill these characteristics and criteria ?
  • Is it right for Najib Razak to demand absolute obedience to his rule ?
  • Does Islam condone blind obedience without any specific condition precedent ?
  • What say all the man of religion in UMNO ? Do they agree with Najib Razak call for blind obedience despite the many unexplained scandals rocking his leadership like 1MDB, RM2.6 billion donation, SRC’s CSR and many others ?
  • Did Najib Razak allow the scrutiny by fellow UMNO Supreme Council members, other UMNO members or citizen at large ? Did he or did he not ?
  • Did Najib Razak used truthfulness as the basis of all dealings between a him as a leader and his people ? Did he or did he not ?
  • Did Najib Razak establish the principle of justice and equality in his sphere of rule ? Did he or did he not ?
  • Did Najib Razak used good and ethical governance in his sphere of administration ? Did he or did he not ?
  • Did Najib Razak practice the sources of legislation (Quran and Sunnah) and  a declaration that the leader is not above the law ? Did he allow impartial, unimpeded and credible investigation on the alleged wrong doings of him ? Did he or did he not ?
  • Can UMNO members and delegates think and reflect on this ?

The answers are as clear as the ELEPHANT in the room. Hence invoking Quran, Hadiths and some scholarly statements, out of context, to justify one’s indiscretion and wrong doings just further worsen the circumstances and will incur the wrath of the people and ALLAH SWT.

Please think and reflect !

Posted by: raishussin | November 26, 2015

All the PM’s Men

  1. “There are many other channels for people” to discuss 1MDB and the funds that appeared in Najib’s accounts, said Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, one of the party’s vice presidents who is also the defense minister. “We have more important things to discuss during the assembly like the future of Umno.”
  2. Yeah, right.
  3. One of the main such channels should have been the upcoming UMNO General Assembly; instead the proceedings of which will now be closed to the media with only the president’s – that is, Najib’s – speech to be telecast. This is a break with history and tradition, and a slap in the face to the very openness and transparency that the Malaysian public and international observers are calling for.
  4. In another break from protocol, in the desperate hope of keeping party infighting or reforms under wraps, the deputy president, former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is now one of Najib’s sharpest critics, won’t officiate the opening of the women and youth wings meeting at the assembly. He has been prevented from doing so.”We want to ensure a positive atmosphere and smooth running of the event,” Najib said.
  5. Of course you do !
  6. What can one write to undo this ill-conceived decision not to allow media to cover the event? Now a sudden u-turn to allow selected friendly media to cover. Or will there be another u-turn ? Who is really making the decision in UMNO ?  Perhaps point out that it marks the first time in UMNO’s history. And that another first includes preventing the elected and sitting deputy president from speaking at his own party’s annual meet.
  7. Or that this was the first time the UMNO Supreme Council convened at the Parliament instead of UMNO headquarters; the first time participants to it were informed by way of private invitation selectively; the first time the assemblies of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri units will be opened by their respective chiefs and not the deputy president; and first time delegates are restricted in speaking about issues.
  8. You get the idea.
  9. Should we now compare UMNO to a communist party convention of yesteryear or even in North Korea these days, where propaganda and party line must be adhered to, clapping of hands are rehearsed choreographically, with no place for democracy, freedom of speech, thought, political expression and the like? No wonder Tun Mahathir will be a no-show, one can hardly blame him.
  10. Of course, it is plainly obvious that no amount of persuasion will induce Najib to change his mind. He has done much worse in the name of protecting his precious democratically elected personage. But just as simple, straight facts are the reply to his verbal gymnastics, there is an answer to this as well.
  11. The answer is social media. The old tried and true tricks of propaganda and censorship don’t work today my friends. On the contrary, the media coverage will be even more sensational than if they had openly allowed it, thanks to the disgruntled delegates who will surely leak videos, posts and texts from the proceedings. Thanks to technology the kimono will be flapping wide open in the wind and wonder what we will see inside !
  12. And, if that fails, there’s always Nelson Mandela. Ignorant that his quote would one day travel through time and space to invoke UMNO delegates to rally against a culture of fear and oppression, he sagely foretold:  “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
  13. UMNO delegates take heed. Stand up and be counted NOW ! or face the consequences of been shown the exit in GE14.
  14. Think & Reflect !

 

Posted by: raishussin | September 18, 2008

Re-Inventing UMNO

Some products have it easy and as toothpastes and deodorants, can re-brand and move on to the next phase of inconsequential life cycles. UMNO doesn’t have the luxury of being inconsequential. Its 2008 avatar decides who runs Malaysia and how.

Every augury indicates this is not the year for a tepid response. We have a few months left to overwhelm our constituents with a proposition that has cross-racial buy-in. To build propositions for a difficult constituency one builds from harsh realities. Palatable and real solutions can be gleaned once facts are laid out.

Facts as perceived by the voting populace don’t look good at first glance or even after a second scrutiny for that matter, encouraging denial and superficialities like re-branding that mock voter intelligence.

UMNO doesn’t own its agenda any longer. On 8 March 2008 Anwar Ibrahim demonstrated he usurped it. He now decides how the public perceives us and we help him do it.

Some of Malaysia’s greatest development occurred under UMNO’s watch, but the public focus is on everything but.

Palatable or not, a potential for changes looms over this election year as significantly as it did in 1969. Up to UMNO to see, grasp and set the big picture.

Palatable or not, and irrespective of subsequent versions (The NDP, The NEP), a perception remains that the original NEP’s inter-ethnic economic policies and wealth re-structuring targets continue to dominate public policy. Like it or not, the NEP is high on the agenda set by Anwar. Palatable or not, his trial is also on top of the agenda and placed there by us. These then consolidate an impression of UMNO in public minds and most of the rest is collateral or us being fatally disingenuous to ourselves.

That irrespective of perceptions the definitive ethnic group’s benign nature was abused in the past is irrefutable. If Anwar Ibrahim usurped UMNO’s agenda this year, the Malay agenda was usurped by the British in an unfortunate past and immigration policies imposed that weren’t similarly fostered on colonies in Australia and New Zealand in a contemporaneous period. Definitive ethnic groups in other immigrant-centric nations like the USA and Canada found it inconceivable to even consider immigration polices that Malays were asked to smile and bear. Unlike Malaya in each of these countries the definitive ethnic group set the rules to get entrants past the gate. And the rules are unsurprisingly similar. Learn the language, become part of the culture, get co-opted. This never happened here until Independence and the special status of Malays accorded by the British as balm to an unnecessary injury was not enough. What ever one may say about 1969, the NEP was needed to augment an insufficient remedy.

No Malay therefore need be apologetic for the NEP and the Bumiputra policy to enable Malaysia’s definitive ethnic group regain a manifest locus standee other definitive peoples took for granted. To regain a stolen 2008 agenda however and to enable UMNO offer its cross-racial constituency an overwhelming argument against the Opposition we need to re-invent ourselves and our NEP. A change to the NEP is Step One towards killing an erroneous perception, re-inventing ourselves and securing the nation’s future.

In a broad sweep to win hearts and minds across our three pit-stops the NEP could do with modifications to allow cross-racial economic needs as criteria for eligibility. This is what the opposition implies as planned in its charter and we need it taken away from them because it is ours and because the time anyway has come for this change. Else such a significant Malay vote would not nest in Anwar Ibrahim’s pocket. Let’s take our people back. Our own economically disadvantaged along with their Chinese and Indian brethren. The uneasy feeling in Perak’s Chinese population under current rule for example, suggests they would come back to MCA/UMNO given half a chance. They await a simple but effective gesture of good faith as do the Indians. The Malays, the vast majority, do want an effective redress of economic imbalances but suspect it has more to it than simply addressing a Chinese economic hegemony. They too await a sign of good faith before casting votes. So let’s give it and re-capture our agenda from the usurper.

This is how UMNO re-invents itself for a 21st Century command performance. Any solution without some sort of change to the NEP is a placebo to placate minds until the election results hit us in the collective solar plexus.

Posted by: raishussin | March 3, 2017

Malaysia’s Own Very Fake News

  1. Donald J Trump has a very limited vocabulary. He has a highly distinctive way of invariably defining everything he feels strongly about: Hillary (crooked), the election (rigged), Mexicans (bad); Muslims (banned), Obamacare (a disaster, now complicated), media (fake), and America (a mess, folks).
  1. It almost seems like Steve Bannon has written post it notes for all his talking points for him to memorize. The rest that is ad-libbed is incomprehensible and indecipherable and his aides seem to spend practically all their time trying to convert his words into a language we can understand.
  1. Sad (!) that the Malaysian Prime Minister is taking his lead.
  1. Najib’s vocabulary is increasing similarly challenged when he discusses the issues near and dear to his heart: 1MDB (foreign conspirators), RM2.6B (Saudi donors), SRC (didn’t realize), Tun Dr. Mahathir (U-Turn), Clare Rewcastle (bad hombres), MO1 (wasn’t me), critics of any kind (sedition).
  1. In particular Najib has taken the “fake news” mantra to the spread of what he calls “false” information by social media and by former UMNO leaders and he characterizes this as a “threat” – much like terrorism or foreign aggression – that the government must counter.
  1. The justification for official action against the dissent of the Rakyat is that it is being sponsored by parties with their own political agenda and with the aim of toppling the democratically elected government of the Nation. This well-worn party line needs to be dismantled once and for all.
  1. The REAL fake news that is being parroted in the officially sanctioned media is that any critic of the administration with the aim of toppling the democratically elected government is automatically an enemy of the state. And the VERY fake news is that the administration has the right to use its authority and its institutional officers such as the Attorney General (AG) and the Inspector General of Police IGP) to persecute these critics.
  1. Najib has called upon the people to work with the government to “defend” the country against those who defame it and threaten its peace and prosperity. Who, then, will defend democracy?
  1. Please, all Malaysians, understand this simple truth: the Government is yours to elect and dispose of as you wish. That is the definition of democracy. If you like them for their acts then reward them with public office; or, if you detest them for their wrongdoing then throw them out on the street.
  1. Enough of this nonsense about toppling the Prime Minister; elections are held precisely for this purpose. If a citizen votes for someone else does that make him a traitor to the government? If so, then that is a dictatorship and not democracy. The tragedy is that these days our leaders can’t seem to tell the difference. Fake news is nothing more than a narrative that doesn’t serve their interest.
  1. So, yes, let’s put an end to fake news. There is nothing criminal or treasonous in wanting to topple the government in a parliamentary democracy if it’s done by free and fair elections, not rigged ones.
  1. Not rigging elections is something even Najib’s golfing buddy would agree with. All Malaysians know that UMNO leaders will stand by the results of the next elections if they win, but the true public servant will only accept a victory that is a free and fair reflection of the true will of the people.
  1. Otherwise, in the words of America’s Tweeter-in-Chief, it would be: “So Unfair!”

 

 

Posted by: raishussin | January 6, 2017

REINVENTING MALAYSIA – POST UMNO

 

  1. A leadership change is necessitated by the crisis of confidence which has permeated Malaysian society and international awareness in a way that is unprecedented in the Nation’s modern history.
  2. This has been abundantly argued in innumerable news articles, op-eds, blogs and a tidal wave of social media, often in views so hotly expressed that we could not repeat them in polite company.
  3. The urgent need of the day is for the Rakyat is to wake up and fight for the constitutional and parliamentary democracy of the Nation, and repair the country’s institutional framework.
  4. The ultimate victim of bad governance and loss of rule of law is the Rakyat themselves. We will have to labor to rebuild the institutional infrastructure and reclaim political stability, and fix the damage inflicted by the actions of its current leaders – UMNO/BN led administration, upon their Constitution. So, it is therefore the responsibility of all Malaysians to repair the impact of this fiasco which is growing day by day.
  5. The new leadership will have to show strength and clarity, and explain that this is the time to repair the government, the institutions, the image, the economy, and the currency.
  6. The people will get their chance to express their vote in the next GE.

In return their leaders (the new leadership) must pledge the following:

A. Protect constitutional democracy and institutions that serve it

Arguably the biggest concern is the erosion of the constitutional framework which protects and facilitates the functioning of democracy in the Nation. To all Malaysians, from those in Government in positions of power, to the Rakyat in the Kampung, the responsibility to protect the constitutional democracy is of utmost importance.

By weakening the institutions put in place to ensure constitutional compliance, the current crisis has struck at the heart of the framework which allows democracy to function and that cannot be allowed or condoned, regardless of party, creed, race or other affiliation. Making this a rallying point will serve not only the interests of the Nation, but also align the interests of ruling and opposition political parties, intellectuals, moderates, and all citizens.

B. Protect the Ringgit and reverse declines from its historic lows

The most transparent benchmark for confidence in Malaysia is the Ringgit. The fact that the currency has broken 20 year lows against the US dollar is the clearest indication of a loss of faith both domestically and internationally, and not just in the Malaysian economy but also in its political stability and institutional credibility. To put it simply, those with a stake in Malaysia have spoken with their feet and are heading for the exit.

There is talk about Bank Negara intervening as a means to stalling its decline. This is akin to sticking a plaster upon a severed artery. Instead of staunching the flow of funds, all that this will accomplish is the impoverishment of Bank Negara’s hard currency reserves, and a corresponding increase in the cost of doing business in and out of the Country. Besides, with reserves already depleted the financial marketplace is fully aware that Malaysia doesn’t have the wallet to play the game – if foreign reserves run dry there’s a real risk of a free-fall of growth coupled with hyper-inflation.

C. Open the Kimono on UMNO

The extensive scale of the current crisis, arguably unprecedented in our Nation’s history, requires comprehensive and transparent accountability. Mapping out the mechanism for dismantling, fixing, and reconstructing the institutions in question, including the highest office of administration, is a herculean task and one that the new leadership must embrace instead of trying to cover up.

The many scandals have created a complex web of deception and confusion, which must now be unraveled strand by strand. The leadership owes the public a reconciliation of past accounts, and a new narrative to facilitate the future progress of society. Only if there is a robust and credible clearing up of open questions, can there be made the space to talk about a new future.

D. Facilitate the international investigations into the scandals

International regulators across multiple jurisdictions have smelled blood, and they are going in for the kill. From the plethora of published investigative reports by world leading main stream media, they have the ammunition they need and the target in sight. The brand of the country must be restored, and although such investigations hurts nationalistic Malaysians who see their highest office openly questioned, impeding them compromises the ability of the Nation to act as equals on the world’s stage and allows others to take full advantage of our weakness.

The new leadership must recognize we are simply fueling the fire with our attempts to shut down the discourse. Leaving aside the fact that these actions lack teeth in its bite – and therefore make us look even weaker – they must accept instead the benefits of open accountability which are numerous and favorable not just to government, but to commerce and private citizens alike.

E. Support a new domestic dialogue on social media

Gone are the days when propaganda can be projected upon the public in a one-way format. In truth, Malaysian society has always been a far cry from despotic rule, and we should uphold with pride our best traditions of inclusiveness, cooperation and understanding for one another, which need to be restored not just in the State-controlled media but also across all digital platforms.

Today, the dialogue with the public is not just two-way, but unconstrained and even enhanced by technology. Ideally there should be some regulation of this traffic so that it meets the norms of society, and eventually it will definitely be so. Some opinions expressed in social media are wild and unconstrained, but equally many in society find this platform the only avenue for honest expression of their opinions. To ignore the public discourse on social media is to do so at our own peril.

Looking at the current flow of comments, it’s clear that executive actions that overreach its legitimate scope and intrude upon the rights of independent empowered overseers, is a source of much frustration and anger. A new transparency, accountability and respect for the sanctity of independent bodies is needed. We must forge a new social reality. Indeed, the most resonating endorsement of a revised strategic vision will be its own validation in social media. Going forward, we must give as much importance to social media in communication as to traditional or main stream media.

Social media show the Rakyat knows very well the tricks UMNO has employed to duck and dive the allegations of many scandals. First they must go, so that we can start to take the necessary steps.

For UMNO to go, the new opposition alliance must present themselves as a united-credible-alternative with sound plan and manifesto to save and reinvent Malaysia.  To be able to offer that, the opposition alliance must put aside all their party and personal interests for once and look at the rakyat’s and nation’s interest.

  1. To save and reinvent Malaysia, the focus must remain to win the next General Elections with credible and pragmatic manifesto and form the new government.
  2. And to win, the opposition alliance must negotiate magnanimously in building a new powerful coalition of the willing, to take on mighty UMNO/BN, which has the power of incumbency with extensive wherewithal – money, man and machinery.
  3. Instead of negotiating in media, the opposition alliance must realize that the best way to negotiate is behind closed doors where all the cards are placed on the table with open, honest and magnanimous negotiation staying focused on saving the nation.
  4. Open negotiation in the media will only allow interested vultures circumblating the opposition alliance to create rifts amongst the opposition alliance. Especially when UMNO/BN keeps a diligent “watching brief” over the opposition alliance through its power of incumbency and government apparatus.
  5. It is time for the opposition alliance to come out of the ‘activists-opposition’ box and start thinking of charting plans to be the next government.
  6. The ground is so fertile that you may have the mangoes the next day after planting the seed. The rakyat are so ready for change. The rakyat is so hoping for a change.
  7. Now the opposition alliance must also be ready to change. Ready to accept the challenge of hope thrown against them by the rakyat. As Einstein, once said, you cannot repeat the same thing and expect a different result.
  8. The negotiation of ‘party first’, opposition alliance later, must stop right now. This split of a second. Instead, the new wave of magnanimous negotiation by putting the rakyat and the nation first, before the party or self, must be done. No two ways about it.
  9. Power sharing can be in many fronts, not just confine to ministerial positions, parliamentary or state seats etc. For once, let us get the best of the talent amongst the opposition alliance to come forward and lead the country. Less old politics, less war lords, more credible work and more real talents, to save and reinvent Malaysia. The dawn of new politics in Malaysia.
  10. So regardless of your party affiliation and support, let us ensure that you will never walk alone.

 

Posted by: raishussin | December 27, 2016

IT’S TIME TO DRAIN THE SWAMP

 

  1. For, perhaps the very first time since our independence from colonial rule, the Rakyat enjoys a viable alternative to UMNO/BN rule. The voting trend in the last two General Elections foretold the coming of this day, but the humongous scale of scandals plaguing the current administration has hastened it.
  2. While Malaysia’s minority communities have political parties representing their interests, they never had any pretension to winning a federal mandate, though some have already demonstrated the efficacy of their administration at the state level.
  3. Rather than inspiring UMNO, Pakatan Harapan and Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) rule in Penang has instead hardened their stance against them, with the leader Lim Guan Eng being charged for alleged corruption on technical grounds while letting 1MDB office bearers, who lost billions and counting, to go scot free, so far.
  4. Or at best, 1MDB investigation is in ‘perpetuity’ in Malaysia, while request for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) from Switzerland Office of Attorney General is denied on the ground of ‘subjudice’. Yes, you read it right ‘subjudice’ as the “investigation” is still on-going in Malaysia.
  5. When the opposition Members of the Parliament, and even the former Finance Minister 2, who is still in UMNO/BN tried to questioned the scandalous 1MDB deals, the Speaker of the Parliament cited the same reason ‘subjudice’ (as the case is being administered by the Department of Justice (DoJ) in the US), to stop the deliberation or debate on 1MDB in the Malaysian Parliament. So going forward, anyone wants to stop the debate on any scandals in the Parliament, just initiate a legal action in a foreign jurisdiction. Easy isn’t !
  6. Laughable, but this is the reality of democracy, ala UMNO-BN in 2016. Yes, in the year 2016, the rape and destruction of the Malaysian democratic institutions is complete.
  7. UMNO’s “safety net” has always been its Malay bedrock, who have never had a mainstream party alternative. Malays have been told for decades that only UMNO can ensure that their collective interests are upheld; not just economic interests, but also social and religious.
  8. The death of UMNO means the death of Malays, the death of UMNO means the death of Islam, they cried wolf. And when all get bad-to -worse, the convenient battle cry — Islam, Unity and Sovereignty is used (or abused) with grandiose props, music even soothing Quranic verses and Hadiths as the back ground multimedia.
  9. The sudden burst of Arabic terminologies in the speeches made by UMNO leaders and war lords in the recent UMNO General Assembly, manifests such an attempt, but mostly quoting Quran and Hadiths, out of context by thousands of miles, if not billions, as UMNO is very fond of billions, these days.
  10. So it is very critical for any opposition alliance to debunk the myth that only UMNO can represent the Malays. Kelantan, Penang and Selangor, have not been under UMNO/BN for at least 2 consecutive parliamentary terms, and the Malays did not die in these states. They actually prospered. Actually, UMNO need the Malays, not the Malays need UMNO.
  11. On the other hand, the opposition alliance big brother, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is seen as too liberal and to some, too secular, though that is far cry from the truth. While, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) is seen as not a representative of the mainstream Malay Muslims for their Islamists conservative stance, which is again a far cry from the truth. Then we have Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), an offshoot of PAS, with a progressive Islamists stance, that has just celebrated its first year of its existence.
  12. To add to this mixture of colors, for the first time, another Malay-based political party, led by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed (former PM of Malaysia and President of UMNO for 22 years) and Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin (former Deputy PM of Malaysia and Deputy President of UMNO), Parti Peribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) offers an alternative choice for Malays, dispelling the myth that UMNO is their only pony in the race.
  13. Still, it’s hardly a foregone conclusion that a coalition with PPBM, PKR, DAP, Amanah, and even PAS can actually accomplish the feat of unseating UMNO/BN and its all-powerful chieftains. Just look at the results of the state-election in Sarawak, and the two by-elections in Perak and Selangor, respectively. UMNO has deep pockets, vast infrastructure, and all the tools of the ruling authority, which it wields not only with blunt force but with impunity. The power of incumbency, they say.
  14. If the opposition runs their own candidates in line with their own distinct manifestoes, then the wolves of UMNO will pick them off like so many scattered sheep. In order to win a national mandate, the flock must band together tightly. There is safety in numbers only if the coalition remains united. Real UNITED with new hope and new deal – the true Barisan Rakyat (The Peoples’ Front)
  15. The coalition must band together with the simple common aim of wresting power from the incumbent. Given that the ground is so very fertile, all indications are that the people will be with them, and will endorse this milestone opportunity to engender much needed change and reform into the legislative and institutional bodies of the Nation, which have been compromised beyond belief under the current leadership. Yes, the ground is fertile, very fertile indeed, but will the opposition alliance have the wherewithal to be the credible alternative? I think for the very first time, they do.
  1. What this means is one identity for the coalition, one branding, one logo, and most, most important: ONE candidate.
  2. One-on-one contests with UMNO/BN candidates are the only sure-shot means of securing the numbers to displace UMNO/BN. If there was ever a time to set aside party politics in favor of common good of the Rakyat, then it is now, in preparation for the next General Election.
  3. The opposition coalition – Barisan Rakyat, must be magnanimous in seats negotiations taking into considerations the ultimate aim of winning the election. It is not an intelligent pursuit to hard negotiate the maximum number of seats for each party in the opposition coalition, but not being able to win collectively.
  4. The focus must remain to win the election, to form the next government and save the nation. Hence, the magnanimous seat negotiations based on win-ability, is critical so there will not be eleventh hour saboteurs amongst the coalition. We saw how it failed monumentally in Sarawak State election to the great joy of Barisan Nasional (BN).
  5. The over-riding aim must be, to win the election, form the government and save the Nation. Period. There will be time aplenty to jockey for self-serving interests in future; today look towards securing the Nation’s future instead. Power sharing can be in many forms. Not just Parliamentary or State seats. People around the world have demolished the status quo in favor of new uncharted terrain, none less than the leading Western democracies of Britain and the United States.
  6. It is time to drain the swamp.
  7. England cut itself off from the EU, and America from common sense itself, but the people spoke and the Nation-State survived the expression of their will. In comparison, the choice in Malaysia is simple. If UMNO/BN retains the government it will take years and maybe decades to turn the hand, back on the ill-effects of massive corruption, loss of political freedoms, compromise of state institutions, confidence in the judiciary, and ridicule from our global peers. Day by day the situation gets worse and the recovery time elongated. To paraphrase Trump’s brash message in his bid for the American Presidency:  “Your leaders have failed you. What do you have to lose by trying something new?”
  8. So there are two very important questions to ask: a) To the opposition coalition, are you ready to be the real Credible Alternative? b) To the people of Malaysia, are you ready for a change?
  9. If the answers to both questions are, a resounding yes, then Malaysia can and will be saved. Hard work, but can be saved, as democracy is indeed, hard work. But if the answers are no for both or any one of the questions, Malaysia is in deep waters, deep trouble!
  10. Think and Reflect WISELY !

 

 

Posted by: raishussin | November 29, 2016

Currency Speculators Are Circling MYR !

1. The preceding post on “Does Malaysia appear to be ripe for an Eminent Speculative Currency Attack” posted on October 27, 2016 (can be accessed here), has listed the prerequisite conditions, the specific economic indicators as well as political situation, for a country to qualify for becoming a victim of possible speculative currency attack.

2. Only those antecedents of speculative currency attack were considered that have gained strong empirical support over the years of experience and research. Among those are such as behavior of international reserves, the real exchange rate, domestic credit, credit to the public sector, domestic inflation election and political instability. We illustrated further how Malaysia in its present state appears to qualify on all the fronts for an eminent speculative currency attack.

3. However, what we did not take into account is the fact that by the time this post was written and published the speculative currency attack might have been under way for some time already. This conclusion naturally suggests itself in the light of the recent events (referring to MYR/USD flight and Bank Negara actions to protect it) and when the technical analysis of the MYR/USD historical price movements presented below is considered. Below we present the analysis of historical monthly price charts for MYR/USD pair.

4. Figure 1 below presents monthly historical price movements of MYR/USD pair. As seen in this chart 40 years high for MYR/USD was 4.8847 which was reached in January 1997 (last speculative currency attack on MYR). The recent high was at 4.7300 which was reached on November 11, 2016 as marked in the Figure 2.

fig1

Figure 1

fig2

Figure 2

5. The next figure, Figure 3, focuses on last 8 years of MYR/USD monthly historical data. As seen in this chart, during the period from April, 2011 till June, 2013 MYR/USD was ranging in a channel 2.9600 – 3.2000 MYR per USD. The currency broke out of this channel in July 2013. Upon it MYR/USD has reached immediately to the new high of 3.3300 – 3.3400 price level that acted as resistance for some time. Notably, MYR/USD has formed “W” bottom formation just before it moved in a quick fashion to 4.4805 (September 2015 high) level breaking the resistance area of 3.3300 – 3.3400 in November 2014. From November 2014 until September 2015 MYR/USD acceleration was very rapid all the way to the new 10 year high at 4.4805 (being fuelled by the infamous 1MDB news).

fig3

Figure 3

6. After the reaching the high of 4.4805 in September 2015 MYR/USD appeared to be consolidating in so called “Flag Formation” that can be clearly seen in Figure 4. This pattern is known in the technical analysis to be an up-trend continuation pattern. Continuation of the upward trend is confirmed once the price breaks out of the flag. This is exactly what happened one year later in September 2016. Within three months MYR/USD rallied all the way to the new high of 4.7300 MYR per USD which is slightly short of the ALL-TIME HIGH of 4.8847!

fig3

Figure 4

7. Usually, price breakout from the flag formation signifies that the next price movement wave shall be as long as the previous “flag pole”. This is in the most drastic scenario when the trend is really strong. One of the indications that MYR/USD upward trend is strong is the fact that price retracement from 4.4805 level hardly reached even 50% of the “flag pole” (Figure 5).

fig5

Figure 5

8. The above chart analysis suggests that speculative currency attack on MYR very well might have been under way for some time now starting from the year 2015 with the first wave of the strong upward move. The second bunch of speculative traders might have joined the band wagon just recently starting from September, 2016 when “flag” pattern was broken upward.

9. However, few considerations are required before concluding. First of all, the above analysis is only one possible way of interpreting recent years of MYR/USD price movements. Secondly, we should not forget that in the above charts we looked at monthly price formations. Therefore, to see confirmation or refutation of any prognosis will require months or maybe even years. The fact cannot be denied however, that MYR/USD is weak and seems to be poised for even further appreciation and in order to correct this situation Malaysia does not have those months or years. The corrective action is required immediately.

10. Technical analysis of the price movements should never be considered without considering fundamentals. Technically MYR is in a weak position right now. It would be incorrect to say that “speculative activity in the offshore market has driven the currency far off from its fundamentals” (Star Biz, 14, November, 2016). We must acknowledge the fact that MYR/USD is extremely weak exactly because of its fundamentals as it was fundamentals of the Malaysian economic and political landscape that has attracted speculators in the first place.

11. Weak Malaysian fundamentals made speculators believe that attack will succeed. MYR is weak and if it will not be strengthened by some fundamental shifts and events in the Malaysian landscape (not by currency protectionist interventions alone but by some real credible changes) the above ringgit bearish scenario might become self-fulfilling. Bank Negara Malaysia must be creative in tackling this problem as only by buying MYR through reserves and requiring Banks in Malaysia to go easy on off shore MYR transactions will not do it.

12. The speculative vultures are waiting and circling, for the opportune time for the next move.

Posted by: raishussin | October 28, 2016

Debunking Blind Obedience II

  1. It has been narrated through a different chain of transmitters, on the authority of Hudhaifa b. al-Yaman who said:

Messenger of Allah, no doubt, we had an evil time (i. e. the days of Jahiliyya or ignorance) and God brought us a good time (i. e. Islamic period) through which we are now living Will there be a bad time after this good time? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. I said: Will there be a good time after this bad time? He said: Yes. I said: Will there be a bad time after good time? He said: Yes. I said: How? Whereupon he said: There will be leaders who will not be led by my guidance and who will not adopt my ways? There will be among them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies of human beings. I said: What should I do. Messenger of Allah, if I (happen) to live in that time? He replied: You will listen to the Amir and carry out his orders; even if your back is flogged and your wealth is snatched, you should listen and obey.

  1. The hadith quoted in Sahih Muslim narrated by Hudhaifa ibn al-Yaman has been grossly misunderstood and misapplied to support unjust and oppressive rules and regimes. It was recently used by many scholars to oppose the Arab spring and provide justification of Arab dictators and tyrants. In Malaysia too, suddenly this Hadiths became popular in support of scandal ridden Najib.
  1. There is a lot of discussion in hadith works about this hadith. Although it is narrated in Sahih Muslim, some hadith scholars deem this hadith to be weak (daeef) and thus cannot be used as an evidence.
  1. In the chain of narrators there is a narrator by the name of Abu Salam Mamtur ak-Habashi. He never met Hudhaifa ibn al-Yaman but narrates from him and thus this hadith is disconnected (mursal).
  1. Shaykh al-Qaradawi is of the opinion that the last part of this hadith is added and not from the hadith itself, something known as ‘ziyada’ in hadith terminology and he also considered it to be weak.

    وقال أن الزيادة التي فيها ( تسمع وتطيع للامير ) الي أخر الفقرة أنها ضعيفة مرسلة و قد ضعفها الدارقطني في الالزامات و التتبع وقال أنها مرسلة

  1. Even if one were to take the opinion the full hadith is authentic, then the understanding is that people do not take up arms against the ruler to remove him. It is a hadith warning against killing unjust rulers. Historical context stipulated that either rulers were obeyed or removed through armed rebellion. The hadith speaks against the latter.
  1. The Islamic legal principle states that to remove one harm a greater harm should not be caused. Hence the hadith speaks about obedience to an unjust ruler if it results in greater injustices.
  1. The same hadith in Ibn Hibban doesn’t include the last part from “you will listen to the leader and carry out his orders…”
  1. One also needs to go through all the different narrations of this hadith – in Musnad Ahmad, Dar al-Qutni, Ibn Hibban and other sources to get a complete picture of the context and intent of the hadith.
  1. Given that there are ways to remove rulers without armed rebellion – through courts, parliament or even the electorate – this hadith will not apply in terms of obeying unjust and corrupt rulers.
  1. With regards to taking wealth or property unlawfully, this hadith contradicts another categorical and authentic hadith in Sahih Muslim which speaks about fighting for one’s right:

    عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ : جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ يُرِيدُ أَخْذَ مَالِى قَالَ فَلاَ تُعْطِهِ مَالَكَ . قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قَاتَلَنِى قَالَ قَاتِلْهُ . قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قَتَلَنِى قَالَ فَأَنْتَ شَهِيدٌ . قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ قَتَلْتُهُ قَالَ هُوَ فِى النَّارِ.أخرجه مسلم

  1. Abd al-Rahman narrates that Abu Hurairah said: one a man came to the Messenger of Allah and said ‘O Messenger of Allah – what do you say about someone who comes to take my wealth?’ He replied: “Don’t give your wealth to him” The man said: “What if he fights me?” The Prophet said: “Fight him.” The man said: “What of he kills me?” The Prophet said: “You will be a martyr.” The man said: “What if I end up killing him?” The Prophet said: “He’ll be in hellfire” (Recorded by Muslim).
  1. Reference is being made to the Hadith in Sahih Muslim which is narrated by Hudaifah Ibn al-Yaman. Some Hadith scholars deem this weak because it is mursal (disconnected). Hudaifah narrates from Abu Salam Mamtur al-Habashi – whom he never met.
  1. Some Hadith scholars deem the Hadith to be authentic (sahih) but the part where it mentions obeying rulers even if one is oppressed through violence and usurping wealth has been added and not part of the Hadith (ziyada). The other narrations of the Hadith in Musnad Ahmad and Dar al-Qutni do not mention this and in fact have a very different ending to the Hadith. Actually in Sahih Muslim itself there is another narration by Hudaifah which does not mention this part.
  1. Even if we were to accept the full authenticity of the Hadith then it’s meaning is not that we should provide support and be obedient to unjust and corrupt rulers but rather that they are not to be removed by armed rebellion/violence.
  1. All peaceful means to remove such leaders and redress the wrong should be pursued. At the very core of Islam is the message to speak truth to power, to subjugate the powerful to the law like all people and combat tyranny, oppression and corruption.
  1. Co-operating with non-Muslims who oppose Islamic law:

This requires a normative understanding of the notion of co-operation. Yes Islam does not permit any co-operation in sin, evil and aggression regardless who the perpetrators are. The Quranic principle is:

وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الْبرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ {المائدة:2}،

“Co-operate with other in goodness and piety and do not co-operate in sin and enmity” (Surah al-Maidah)

  1. So if the co-operation with non Muslims –  or even Muslims for that matter – is on an agenda which violates Islamic law and it’s teaching then yes such co-operation will be deemed categorically prohibited (haram) in Islamic law.
  1. However if the co-operation with non-Muslims is to promote the common good, fight evil, oppression, injustices and corruption then it would not only be deemed permissible (mubah), but even recommended (mandub) and possibly an obligation (wajib) according to Islamic law.
  1. There are many evidences from the Quran and Sunna to substantiate this principle:
  • Prophet Yusuf co-operating and working within a non-Islamic governance in Egypt as ‘Finance Minister’ or responsible for the treasury. Assuming this role did not mean he endorsed the anti-Islamic stance of the government.

 

  • Incident of Hilful Fudhul in the Sirah – this is where the Prophet even as a young man in his twenties participated with polytheist members of his society in combatting injustices and oppression. He later said (after becoming a Prophet):

لَقَدْ شَهِدْت فِي دَارِ عَبْدِ اللّهِ بْنِ جُدْعَانَ حِلْفًا مَا أُحِبّ أَنّ لِي بِهِ حُمْرَ النّعَمِ وَلَوْ أُدْعَى بِهِ فِي الْإِسْلَامِ لَأَجَبْت” [ ابن هشام : 1/133]

“In the house of Abdullah Ibn Jud’an I was present at an alliance (referring to Hilful Fudhul) which was such that if I was invited to take part in it now in Islam, I would still do so” (Ibn Hisham)

  • Actually the incident of Hilful Fudhul is interesting – this is an alliance which took place because of economic exploitation. A man from Zabid arrived in Makka to sell goods and one of the nobleman of Quraysh al-As Ibn Wail bought the goods from him but then refused to pay. The man asked the leaders of the Quraysh to help but they all refused because of the status and position of al-As Ibn Wail. The main then called out to all the people of Makka to help him and may gathered in the house of Abdullah Ibn Jud’an – including the Prophet (pre-prophethood) – and formed an alliance to unite with the wronged man against the one who had wronged him.
  1. Islam advocates that justice is blind to faith, colour, nationality, ethnicity, power, gender, social class and race. When we speak about Shariah we do not only mean its laws but also its values and objectives. We need to uphold these values even if those who betray those values through some ‘interpretation’ of Islam. The great classical Islamic jurist Ibn al-Qayyim says:

فَإِنَّ الشَّرِيعَةَ مَبْنَاهَا وَأَسَاسُهَا عَلَى الْحِكَمِ وَمَصَالِحِ الْعِبَادِ فِي الْمَعَاشِ وَالْمَعَادِ وَهِيَ عَدْلٌ كُلُّهَا وَرَحْمَةٌ كُلُّهَا وَمَصَالِحُ كُلُّهَا وَحِكْمَةٌ كُلُّهَا فَكُلُّ مَسْأَلَةٍ خَرَجَتْ عَنْ الْعَدْلِ إلَى الْجَوْرِ وَعَنْ الرَّحْمَةِ إلَى ضِدِّهَا وَعَنْ الْمَصْلَحَةِ إلَى الْمَفْسَدَةِ وَعَنْ الْحِكْمَةِ إلَى الْبَعْثِ فَلَيْسَتْ مِنْ الشَّرِيعَةِ وَإِنْ أُدْخِلَتْ فِيهَا بِالتَّأْوِيلِ

“Indeed, the Shariah is founded upon wisdom and welfare for the servants in this life and the afterlife. In its entirety it is justice, mercy, benefit, and wisdom. Every matter which abandons justice for tyranny, mercy for cruelty, benefit for corruption, and wisdom for foolishness is not a part of the Sharia even if it was introduced therein by an interpretation.” (Source: I’lām al-Muwaqqi’īn 3/11)

 

 

 

  1. To credibly address the recent speculation whether Malaysia indeed appear to be ripe for an eminent speculative currency attack we must turn to the sound past empirical results and facts. The empirical research aiming to identify strong antecedents of a speculative currency attack has proliferated over the last two decades. The number of possible indicators of the possibility of an imminent currency attack is simply too many to list.
  2. However, based on the seminal meta-analytical review by Kaminsky, Lizondo, and Reinhart (1998) of the previous empirical literature, few economic indicators have emerged as being particularly effective. These indicators, which have been consistently found to be significant predictors of the currency attack across multiple countries and in multiple research settings are: behaviour of international reserves, the real exchange rate, domestic credit, credit to the public sector, and domestic inflation.
  3. The appearance of any of the above mentioned indicators or their combination severely curtails government ability to successfully defend a speculative attempt to devalue their currency. For instance, stagnated or depleted international reserves void the government of an option to be able to maintain its currency within predetermined bounds through the dumping of international reserves. Sliding exchange rate, especially in combination with the believe that this trend will continue, informs speculators that government of a targeted country would not opt for the strategy of aggressive borrowing in foreign currencies in order to stem speculative attack as this type of intervention is extremely costly in these circumstances as repaying principal and interest by taking up borrowings or debts when the currency is stable with an impeding collapse will only increase the costs of repayments both principals and interest rates.
  4. Expansion of the domestic credit as well as credit to the public make intervention through interest rate increase very unlikely option as doing so may push a large proportion of individuals and companies into default and send the turmoil though the entire financial system. This strategy of currency defeat is also not an option in case of rising domestic inflation as it will certainly send the domestic inflation to the new highs. Therefore, government of a targeted country is basically “trapped” or “ripe” for the successful speculative currency attack.
  5. In the context of Malaysia, we have been seing the dizzying pace in the growth of national and private household debts. The national debt grew from a low of RM90 billion in 1997 (the currency and financial crisis year) to RM847 billion in 2015, registering a whopping 841% debt growth. (Source, The Economist) Certainly, a growth rate that we will not, we want to be proud of. The debt level was more manageable in 1997 which stood at RM97 billion, but after 17 years, in 2014, it ballooned to RM677 billion. In 2003, when Tun Abdullah Badawi took over the reign, the national debt was RM188 billion. 6 years later, in 2009, when he passed the baton to Najib, the national debt doubled to RM376 billion. After five years of Najib’s administration, in 2014 the national debt almost doubled to RM677 billion. Looks like Najib adheres to “In Debt We Trust” and with his other love of “Cash is King”, the nation certainly moving a very slippery downhill to disaster. From the Khazanah Research Institute Report we saw another startling statistics, i.e the personal household debt that stood at 86% to GDP. This addiction to debt, be it on national or personal household level, will only worsen the situation.
  6. The annual Auditor General Report too has shown us that between RM23 billion to RM40 billion is lost through leakages and financial mismanagement. Malaysia also had 18 consecutive budget deficits since 1998 and the trend is set to continue with the weak domestic economic resiliency fuelled by poor sentiment, in addition to the generally weak global economy outlook. The real RM exchange rate depreciation and the continuous rising domestic inflation and imported inflation due to RM depreciation just makes it worst.
  7. Hence, it is safe to conclude that Malaysia is within the range of speculative currency attack given the indicators for possible speculative currency attack is prevalent in the following indicators :
  1. Stagnating or Depleting levels of international reserves in real terms
  2. The real exchange rate depreciation
  3. Domestic credit
  4. Overexpansion of the credit to the public sector
  5. Rising domestic inflation
  1. Furthermore, while controlling for the above economic variables, some political indicators transpired as rendering significant additional explanation to the occurrence of currency speculative attacks.
  2. Specifically, across numerous emerging economies, the following political factors were found to be associated with the occurrence of speculative currency attacks. Elections and political instability were found to be positively associated with the likelihood of a speculative currency attack (Bussie`re & Mulder, 2000). “Strong” (measured by both their margin of legislative majority and fragmentation of opposition parties) or politically autonomous government as well as more democratic government, as opposed to a weak and less democratic government, was found to be negatively associated with the likelihood of a speculative currency attack (Block, 2003).
  1. Weak and less democratic government must be ready to strongly communicate their willingness and readiness to defend currency attacks with appropriate monetary and fiscal policies otherwise market expectations set by economic and political conditions may become self-fulfilling.
  2. Hence the questions needs to be asked are as followings:
  1. Are the government cognizance of the fact that there are possibility of imminent speculative attack on RM ?
  2. Are there any early warning signals for the government to monitor and track of this possible speculative currency attack ?
  3. If yes, are there preventive measures to stem such attacks and what are those ?
  4. Do we have, God forbid, if the speculative currency attack occurs, sufficient reserves to defend RM ? And for how long ?
  5. As the defence using reserves can be a double edge sword, will there be a plan B ? If yes, are there are going to be pegging of RM to US$ and capital control ? Or are there any other plan ?
  6. In the 1997 and 1998 situation the pegging and the capital control did help to stem the speculative attack, but the landscape was different with strong economic fundamentals and stable commodity prices. Now the landscape is quite different with weak domestic sentiments, poor governance in all spheres of government machineries especially with the high level corruptions being a new norm, in addition to the weak global economy. So what are the specific steps if any, the government has, should the unthinkable happens ?

REFERENCES:

Block, S. A. (2003). Political conditions and currency crises in emerging markets. Emerging Markets Review, 4(3), 287-309.

Bussie`re, M., & Mulder, C., (2000). Political Instability and Economic Vulnerability. International Journal of Finance & Economics, 5(4), 309–330.

Kaminsky, G., Lizondo, S., & Reinhart, C. M. (1998). Leading indicators of currency crises. Staff Papers, 45(1), 1-48.

Posted by: raishussin | December 20, 2015

Signing Off

Thinking & reflecting, it is time for me to stop writing & observe more. As such, I will cease writing. To those who have overwhelmingly followed me and provided useful feedback & encouragement, I would like to register my heartfelt appreciation. To my critics. I love you more as you make me to be better equipped all the time. To fellow Malaysians, my prayers are with you for the betterment of our beloved nation, the only nation we know and loved. Till then Merry Christmas & Happy New Year !

Posted by: raishussin | December 15, 2015

Deciphering the Olive Branch !

 

  1. The last six months have been unique in Malaysian political history. A massive well-spring of alleged wrongdoing by the top political leadership has been unearthed in full view of the local and global media, press, and public, and a resulting outcry of dissent has rippled through the rank and file of public servants and private citizenry.
  2. The democratic system itself has been held hostage, and parliamentary process discarded. The constitution has been compromised beyond immediate repair, and the economy, the currency, and the good name and standing of the Nation has plummeted to heretofore unseen depths.
  3. And yet, incredibly, the ruling faction has emerged “triumphant”, with a vice-like grasp over the mechanisms of state power as well as the public narrative. It’s a classic David and Goliath storyline, with the unhappy ending (thus far anyway) of Goliath trampling the underdog.
  4. These underdogs, by bravely staking the moral high ground, have dignified themselves in the public eye, and even amongst some of their political peers. As such, their gambit has been effective.
  5. However, having distinguished themselves, they are now called upon to reach for so-called olive branches and retreat to the fold. And, if they wish to play the long game, this may be advisable as the most practical way to preserve a relevant place within the political hierarchy.
  6. Relying upon public sympathy for protection is risky; loyalty (as we’ve already seen) can be fickle and the people’s attention-span short. Given the luxury of time, the administration will surely bide their time and strike at an opportune moment to clean-house of dissenters. Indeed, they have already signalled their intent on so doing by offering a last-chance “redemption” for wayward party members, or else.
  7. Yet the so-called olive branch offer and the accompanying threat of punitive action are both canards. They are merely the bark of a chained dog who cannot reach its mark – and while this is perhaps an insulting analogy given the sensitivities of Malay culture, there is also a line between remaining docile and running amok – of which the leadership is well advised to remind itself.
  8. A magnanimous person with big heart will never thump his chest saying that he is magnanimous with big heart. Rather he will show it in action by being tactful and circumspect. Najib was shouting his lungs out on the microphone playing to the gallery, while Muhyiddin sat there magnanimously and manifested his big heart by even shaking Najib’s hand. Now that is an unspoken magnanimity with humongous heart.
  9. In fact, the real insult is to assume that 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion donation fiasco will be swept under the carpet. And life goes on !
  10. The real insult is for Najib to proclaim that “whoever goes against the president also goes against the party”. This must be one of the most nonsensical philosophy that Najib tried to sell in UMNO. If ever this is bought and taken by UMNO, then it spells the beginning of the end of UMNO.
  11. Equally, the real insult is the cowardice of completely silencing your opponent while self-aggrandizing yourself with bravery, nobility and magnanimity. The Bugis community that has a proud heritage of bravery must have felt very low on this day when one of their own showed how low he can get to protect his own interest in the expense of the greater interest of the people, party and the nation. Shameful beyond words !
  12. And the biggest insult is the Emperor parading himself naked (not a pretty sight given the smallness of heart and everything !) in full view of 3,000 spectators yet applauded by his sycophants for his fine imaginary garments.
  13. The day before the General Assembly, Muhyiddin held a rally which drew more than 3,500 people, enthusiastically asserting the voices of the 3.5 million UMNO members ignored by the favored one percent. Not forgetting the remaining 26.5 million Malaysians who are holding a watching brief of hope. It served as a taste of the dissent that lies beneath the calm of the official narrative.
  14. And it has rung the alarm bells that something hot is threatening to flare up into full-throated dissent. They represented righteous men beset by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men, and any scholar of scripture should know that this ends badly for the evil ones. This perhaps accounts for the hailing of The Holy Quranic verses in the wrong and narrow context, at the Assembly; of courting PAS under the guise of Islam and One Shahadat, where Najib that is the One graced with the Creator’s blessing. Remember another of the “Anugerah Tuhan” rant. This is truly arrogance arrogated with impunity.
  15. Joceline Tan of The Star, a mouthpiece  of the Prime Minister(and so incapable of impartial analysis except sing the praise of Lord to Najib), never opined more aptly when she wrote that ‘Politics is a cruel game’. She conjured up a vivid image of Muhyiddin hobbling around with his leg cut off by the incumbent. Yet his head has been spared – a fate which it remains to be seen if it is afforded to his predecessor.
  16. Muhyiddin yesterday posted a photo of a message, written on a napkin or serviette, which read: “We are all for you and praying that your struggle is not in vain.” Amy Ho who wrote this even paid Muhyiddin Yassin’s breakfast that morning without even him knowing it. This is from a rakyat who happen to be there.
  17. It would serve the leadership well to take note of this sentiment, which is not that of one citizen but of all her citizenry as seen in Amy’s message going viral in social media !
  18. So what really is this olive branch being offered by Najib at the top of his lungs ?
  19. Is it an olive branch or stage managed act to create perception about being big hearted when no one except the sycophants of Najib believe that he is !
  20. Is it a slippery olive branch offered half heartedly by Najib just to please the assembly attendees and their demand ?
  21. Is it a calculated move to create a perception that Najib extended the olive branch (though no one really knows what the hell is the olive branch) and Muhyddin spurned it out of arrogance ?
  22. Muhyddin has reiterated umpteen times that he has diligently followed and supported Najib’s vocation in all spheres of his Presidency except on the national issues like 1MDB, 2.6 billion political donation that ended in Najib’s account, the lack of good governance and more importantly how it has impacted and impacting the rakyat ? Is Najib and his sycophants are too deaf, too dumb or too blind to see this ? Verily the rakyat is not deaf, dumb or blind.
  23. Islam means peace. All Muslims wants peace. Peace as being advocated in the Quran and exemplified in the Sunnah of the Prophet. Invoking Quranic verses or Hadiths just to support one’s parochial and utilitarian view is a very dangerous thing. What more when the Haditha was quoted as the Quranic verse by Najib ! Perhaps Najib’s speech writers are under the influence of Marijuana !
  24. 24 means sure die in Chinese. If it remains status quo at UMNO with scandal ridden Najib at helm, does that mean UMNO will also sure die in GE14 ?

 

 

Older Posts »

Categories