Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sports betting license scrapped?

  • The sports betting license was not awarded to Ascot Sports. The reason given is that many are against it.

  • It was followed by a comment by a Datuk that he was pleased that the sports betting license was not given or else match fixing in local football might occur.

  • Both reasons are equally unacceptable to me. Let me first answer the comment from the Datuk.

  • I wonder if he had any experience of seeing how things operate in developed countries.

  • Countries like Australia and UK have sports betting. In fact, their sports betting games cover not just soccer but various other sports including tennis, horse racing and even greyhound races.

  • Specifically, if we look at just soccer alone, the Australians and British hardly face any match fixing scandals. If any, they are dealt with swiftly by the cops.

  • And the best part is - both Australia and England are participants in the World Cup. Their games and spirit to play were not damaged at all.

  • So, dear Datuk, and the rest who used the excuse that it could destroy our game, please don't ever use it again. Tak masuk akal.

  • The Opposition is dancing away knowing that what they opposed have been agreed by the Government. But those guys practice Politics First, Putrajaya Now concept.

  • We, on the other hand, being the loyalists of 1Malaysia Government who uphold the concept of People First, Performance Now, surely can do better than those clowns in the Opposition.
  • Double standards should not be applied on sports betting and numbers forecast betting.

  • By not awarding the sports betting license with all sorts of reasons given which cover religion, politics, popularity and impact on society, there is little reason left to defend the numbers forecast betting games and horse racing betting games. Right or not ?

  • What is the justification to ban or not allow sports betting but to allow numbers betting now? Will we see a ban of numbers betting soon too ?

  • Some Datuk or Tan Sri from the relevant Government Ministry or agency must now come up with a clear explanation. Don't just close the books and say we should move on.

  • I am of the opinion that the sports betting license should be awarded. I am not a gambler. But there are reasons to this.
  • Sir, even without the sports betting license and even with the eradication of illegal syndicates, the people can still access the Internet to place sports bets with registered bookies from other countries.

  • What's next ? Bring in MCMC ? I wonder.

  • It is always important to have an identifiable target group. This "legal" population of sports gamblers can then be subject to targets from the various Ministries that deal with social ills.

  • We can then adopt all measures possible to solve issues such as addiction to gambling under effective campaign measures.

  • You can get more details from my article - The Sports Betting License.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

MCA Party Assets

When Chua Tee Yong was made Deputy Minister, the first thing that came to my mind was MCA might be walking down the road which DAP took.

Not only we have the father and the son actively in politics but we are also slowly transforming to be like DAP.

Indeed the Chinese wants MCA to speak out, but there are many ways to do so. And the wrong way is to only critically evaluate fellow component parties and the Government's policies.

MCA must understand that UMNO, MIC and other component parties are not enemies.

So, any press statements should be studied cautiously on the implications that they will bring to the coalition - Barisan Nasional.

Or else, why be in Barisan Nasional ? I refer you to The Star's newspaper articles lately and you will know what I mean.

Again, when Tee Yong was made a Deputy Minister, Soi Lek was happy that MCA was given the portfolio of a senior Ministry and that the appointment was justified as Tee Yong was a qualified man.

But browsing through The Star, Tee Yong is extremely quiet while other MCA office holders do the talking. Why is that so ? I can only wonder.

I don't see where the Party is going in terms of its asset management. The Party's assets have all along been managed by MCA leaders with advisors from well established individuals in commerce.

Now, all the assets will not be directly under MCA but they will be transferred out to a professional management team.

I don't know. Surely this will mean that MCA must pay them professional fees, administrative fees and all sorts of perks.

I believe it will be better if MCA asset management team comprises of qualified MCA members. This is because whenever we do things for the Party, it is all because of our love for the Party.

Though they (MCA members) should be paid, but at least everything they do, we know it is for the Party. The compassion and passion might not exist in the hearts and minds of the professional management team.

But why was this not done ? Maybe the 1 million members in MCA do not have the qualifications at all.

Read : MCA Presidential Council To Submit Proposal To Protect Party's Assets

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Story on JPA Scholarships

I have written many times - to the Press and in my blog - with regards to the JPA scholarships issue.

As far as I can see, politicians are merely mumbling away and none of them actually truly understand both the JPA scholarship standards as well as the actual scholarship holders background.

Time after time, MCA leaders are saying all sorts of things about the JPA Scholarships. But hardly anyone hit the facts right.

Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong's recently said that"Over 3,000 Chinese students have received the scholarships since 2001 and they will be serving in the public sector for 10 years" (Maintain overseas undergrad scholarships, says Wee - The Star)

If there were only 3000 Chinese JPA overseas scholars since 2001 and I believe the figures are up to 2009, it means that on average 333 Chinese are rewarded with a JPA Scholarship annually.

Out of the 3000 Chinese JPA overseas scholars, did Datuk Dr Wee clarify how many were actually called back to serve in the public sector ?

And please. Not all JPA scholars have a contractual bond of 10 years.
The figure vary from 4 to 10 years actually.

Perhaps MCA should skip any further announcements of figures based on races or matters with regarding the JPA Scholarship. It is not helping the Party at all.

Being a former JPA scholar myself, I have many stories to tell
. I can tell you a clearer picture than the politicians, though I am almost like one myself.

I do know many JPA scholars who don't want to be called up by the Government to work in the public sector as warranted by their contractual agreement.

Some either ignore the call up for public service entrance evaluations or some will just consider paying back the total costs of their scholarships. (Yes, many JPA scholarship holders are not affiliated to any political parties but are classified as rich)

This is because graduates working overseas like in US, UK and Australia can allow them to have savings of AT LEAST RM 3000 a month.

A fresh graduate in Malaysia will earn probably in the range of RM 2400-RM 4500. Savings can range from RM 500-RM 2000.

So we all know why even JPA students don't want to return home. They will beg, cry and accuse the Government if they are not given any scholarships that are worth about RM 350,000 to RM 1 million to study overseas.

But unknown to the taxpayers, not all JPA overseas students get called up to serve in the Government for various reasons which include the "excuses" above.

I do know also that there are many loopholes which allow JPA overseas students to make themselves not eligible for public service. These need to be patched up, I believe.

If I outline it all here, I will be in trouble with the Government but I will be more than willing to be contacted and to assist the Government to plug the loopholes once and for all.

The Prime Minister needs to know that all overseas scholars need to be summoned back to serve in the public sector or at least to work in Malaysia.

The JPA Overseas Scholarship have long been abused as a "brain drain machine" whereby our scholars are paid by the Government to study overseas but they end up working for foreign companies and countries.

I realise that many JPA Domestic Scholarship holders were called back to serve their bond as opposed to JPA Overseas Scholarship holders but priority must be given to those sponsored to study overseas.

The Government should not be spending so much money to send students overseas, only to allow them to go freely and instead choose to tap the knowledge of local sponsored students only.

The logic is not there.

Taxpayers deserve to know all these now. Do take this piece of article to be published elsewhere in the electronic media with due credits given to the author.

My previous articles on JPA scholarships :
  1. Brain drain solution
  2. JPA Scholarship - Rational Review
  3. PSD Scholarship & MCA

As for where MCA should fit in, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong should form a committee or taskforce to look into education appeals. A permanent bureau needs to be established with sub committees based on specific cases and to assist the appellants to find alternatives.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The sports betting license

I was told that for every RM 1 that Berjaya makes from the sports betting business, the illegal sports betting syndicates earn RM 2.

In other words, by legalizing the market, the Government will be able to pull 1/3 of the illegal gamblers away from the syndicates if the information I received was right.

From here, the Government will be able to tax these gamblers and channel the money elsewhere for others who need or want to enjoy more welfare benefits.

That is, of course, if we look at this case only from a monetary point of view.

If we don't, we will be able to look at things differently.

By awarding the license to Berjaya, not only do we get monetary returns to the Government's funds, we can also successfully pool together a target cluster of identified gamblers.

This "legal" population of sports gamblers can then be subject to targets from the various Ministries that deal with social ills.

We can adopt all measures possible to solve issues such as addiction to gambling under effective campaign measures.

Hand in hand, the enforcement agencies can look at cases of illegal gambling syndicates and eradicate them as time goes by.

For all we know, more than 1/3 of the gambling population might move away from the illegal syndicates to legal outlets.

This is because there are worries at times that the illegal syndicates might not pay out if the amount gambled and the winning payout has a large spread.

So, we might end up having more "identified legal outlet gamblers" who migrated from the illegal gambling cluster which will make it easier for the Government to educate or assist them on addiction of gambling.

Why an open tender was not made, I believe Guan Eng can answer it well since he is also using selective tender after experiencing the troubles and negative side of open tender.

As such, I believe the awarding of sports betting license is justified to Ascot Sports and effectively to Berjaya Group.

The public and the Chinese community must not question Barisan Nasional on this matter since they did not attack Guan Eng too.

Or else, I am beginning to believe more and more by day that the Chinese are blindly going against Barisan Nasional and that all talks of "we are more concerned about issues" will turn out to be fairy tales.

On another issue that Pakatan Rakyat opposed the sports gambling license, I think we all know that sports gambling, horse gambling and the numbers gambling make no difference. It is still gambling.

Unless of course Tony Pua and the leaders of DAP can present to us the social effects differences and why sports gambling should be opposed or banned in Pakatan Rakyat states while other form of gambling can happily continue operating.

Well, DAP folks have another headache now since PAS leaders are calling for a phase out of gambling outlets in Pakatan Rakyat states. [ PAS wants end to gaming premises permit ]

Salam 1 Malaysia.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Wrong direction, Petronas

I was surprised to read a news article posted in The Star and The Malaysian Insider 2 days ago.
  1. Petronas keen on home oil fields
  2. Petronas to push ahead with new board, new plans

Now what I didn't understand was Datuk Shamsul's plans (medium to long term?) for Petronas. Quoting from The Star's report,

"Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) will search for more oil and gas reserves in Malaysia at the expense of overseas exploration and has changed its management structure to have its executive vice-presidents in charge of key operations to shoulder more responsibility. Domestic oil exploration would see Petronas drill deeper for oil and gas on the shallow waters of Malaysia but the company is also looking to increase the amount of oil it pumps out from existing wells in Malaysia."

Petronas' operations were mainly focused on Malaysian shores resources - East and West Malaysia - in the initial stages.

Tan Sri Hassan Marican transformed Petronas rapidly into a global company with oil explorations and business joint ventures with overseas partners.

Approximately 49% of Petronas revenue came from overseas operations under Tan Sri Hassan Marican's leadership.

Now, Datuk Shamsul is saying that Petronas will search for more oil and gas reserves in Malaysia at the expense of overseas exploration.

Clearly, what is in Malaysia belongs to the Malaysian Government since we are a sovereign nation.

And based on Malaysian legislation, Petronas is the sole custodian on behalf of the Government for all oil and gas reserves in Malaysia.

No one has a right to take it, unless some smart leader gives or trades the oil field for something else with another country.

When oil and gas head towards scarcity, by the law of economics, oil and gas prices will go up. No practical alternative energy is available at the moment for oil and gas also.

The oil and gas fields in Malaysia remains a "secure revenue" for Petronas and the Malaysian Government in the long run.

So, it makes little sense to search for more oil and gas reserves in Malaysia at the expense of overseas exploration.

Petronas should continue to explore oil and gas fields overseas with the appropriate risk assessments considered.

Revenue should be generated from oil reserves that belong to other countries first as long as it is profitable even though the contractual bids and exploration incur substantial costs.

If the opportunity is there overseas, why not attempt to grab it ? The "secure revenue" at home won't run away and will stay miles under the sea bed.

Rockybru has a brief summary of what Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas, the hot man favored by the Prime Minister over Tan Sri Hassan Marican, in his "meet the Editors" session recently.

You can read it here : We won't sell KLCC

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The "MCA" Cabinet reshuffle

Current list of MCA Ministers (4)
  1. Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha (Transport)
  2. Datuk Chor Chee Heung (Housing and Local Govt)
  3. Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (Health)
  4. Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen (Tourism)
Current list of MCA Deputy Ministers (7)
  1. Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (Education)
  2. Dr Hou Kok Chung (Higher Education)
  3. Chua Tee Yong (Agriculture and Agro-based Industries)
  4. Senator Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai (Finance)
  5. Senator Gan Ping Sieu (Youth & Sports)
  6. Datuk Lee Chee Leong (Home)
  7. Senator Heng Seai Kie (Women, Family and Community Development)
Previous list of MCA Ministers (4)
  1. Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat (Transport)
  2. Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (Health)
  3. Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen (Tourism)
  4. Datuk Kong Cho Ha (Housing and Local Govt)
Previous list of MCA Deputy Ministers (7)
  1. Datuk Chor Chee Heung (Finance)
  2. Datuk Wee Ka Siong (Education)
  3. Senator Heng Seai Kie (Information, Culture, Arts and Communications)
  4. Dr Hou Kok Chung (Higher Education)
  5. Wee Jeck Seng (Youth and Sports)
  6. Senator Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun (Women, Family and Community Development)
  7. Datuk Lee Chee Leong (Foreign Affairs)
Current list of MCA MPs
  1. YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting
  2. YB Datuk Ong Tee Keat
  3. YB Dato' Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn
  4. YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Chuan
  5. YB Dato' Liow Tiong Lai
  6. YB Dato' Dr Ng Yen Yen
  7. YB Dato' Chor Chee Heung
  8. YB Datuk Lee Chee Leong
  9. YB Dr Wee Ka Siong
  10. YB Wee Jeck Seng
  11. YB Teng Boon Soon
  12. YB Chua Tee Yong
  13. YB Dr Hou Kok Chung
  14. YB Tan Ah Eng
  15. YB Dato' Kong Cho Ha

MCA representation in the Government remains at 4 Ministers and 7 Deputy Ministers.

Out of the 11 Cabinet posts held by MCA, 8 are elected representatives, 3 are appointed representatives (Senator). Previously, we had 9 elected representatives and 2 appointed representatives in the Cabinet under MCA.

The MCA elected representatives not included in the new Cabinet are
  1. Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting
  2. Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan
  3. Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat
  4. Datuk Wee Jeck Seng
  5. Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn
  6. Tan Ah Eng
  7. Teng Boon Soon.

I have faith in Yen Yen and Ka Siong as Government representatives for MCA but I hope the other 9 are capable enough to be part of the 1Malaysia transformation and able to stand tall in Parliament when facing the Opposition. (Otherwise, please resign and don't embarrass MCA or the Government)

Also, I don't deny that Chua Tee Yong possess the qualifications to be a leader someday and he is an elected representative after all.

One cannot escape but question if Tee Yong's political career has been expedited by his father, the President of MCA or was it solely based on personal merits.

Thus far, Tee Yong is a
  • Deputy Minister,
  • Presidential Council member
  • Party Asset Management Team Deputy
  • Young Professionals Bureau Chief
Congratulations, MCA. You have transformed "very well".

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Subsidy Rationalisation Puzzle

The current public debt is at RM 362 billion which is 54% of GDP. The Minister said that at 12% growth of public debt per year, we will be bankrupt by 2019.

Public debt is expected to be equal to GDP in 2019 at RM 1.158 trillion. This probably means that our economy is expected to grow annually by 6 to 6.5 percent by simple calculations.

But the Government might cause ripples/shocks to the economy. Malaysia should reduce their subsidies periodically. A calculated phase out must be done.

Don't let the people decide the duration of the phase out (Look at the 2nd question above). The economists from the private and public sector should decide.

Who doesn't want to pay fuel at RM 1.80/litre for the longest duration possible as opposed to probably paying RM 2.80/litre ?

The Government should announce welfare packages targeted at the lower middle and poor income groups hand in hand with the reduction of subsidies.

Otherwise, people with lower middle income and low income will see no safety nets in place in the near term.

Proper schemes should also be announced to ensure that the middle and upper income aren't badly affected either but the core benefits should go to lower middle and the low income groups.

One thing is for sure. Individual cost of living will rise. Individuals in the low income group won't have much money left to spend or invest in other areas after consuming necessities and utilities.

It is indeed a painful path that we need to take if we want to transform into a high income + high cost economy.

Anyway, I wonder what will the Government say if the official statistics show that the people voted against the Subsidy Rationalisation Plan.

The last time we were told to absorb higher costs individually for fuel, the Government promised us better public transportation. We were hoodwinked by the former administration.

It is said that the Subsidy Rationalisation Plan will save us RM 103 billion over the next 5 years.

Unfortunately, it will only be a saving of RM 20.6 billion a year on average. Compare it to a 12 % growth of public debt from current level which comes to about RM 43.44 billion. Saving RM 103 billion over the next 5 years won't help us for long.

So, after cutting costs in the listed categories (and hopefully other sectors also), the Government must really look into sectors that can generate more revenue and also improve the ease of doing business in Malaysia.

Communications and transportation sector please, Sir !