Saturday, November 30, 2013

Selangor's RM1.00 Economic Advisor

In Nov 2009, when Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been appointed as Selangor's Economic Advisor, there were mixed reactions. But since it was for RM1, no one bothered except Tun Dr Mahathir. 

"Of course, you pay him RM1, you'll get RM1 worth."

When I saw this news article - Massive salary hikes for Selangor MB, assemblymen, I told myself it can't be just RM29,250 for the Menteri Besar. What about other fixed allowances on top of the basic salary? If the MB and his Excos sit on State GLC boards and councils, how much are they paid? What is the going rate in Selangor when politicians or officers attend State GLC board or council meetings?

I wanted to spend my weekend digging up files on Selangor MB's total salary and wanted to write a blog post on it. But someone from FMT did it earlier today. Ever since the sweetheart from Serdang embarrassed himself for his lack of research skills and knowledge in Government affairs and yours truly here had to show him the path to the rose garden, it is good to see that there are people out there who won't take statements at face value.

Read this: Khalid’s pay: What RM29,250? It’s RM50k!

Put aside his salaries, but take a look at this paragraph:

...Khalid will receive RM5,000 for every corporation or board meeting he attends as the chairman. Meetings are conducted thrice a year for each corporation. Khalid is chairman of the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), Selangor State Investment council (SSIC), Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (KDEB), Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation (PKPS) and Selangor Housing and Property Board (LPHS).

Well, he gets paid for attending board meetings. Surely that's on top of his Chairman-ship salary and allowances. Beribu-ribu tahniah. I mean .... Ringgit, sorry.

I thought that was the story of the day. Until I read this: Selangor paid Economic Adviser RM150,000 a year

Woi, hari itu kata RM1? What sort of Freedom of Information is this? I am also unhappy with Selangor BN. Are you guys sleeping on your job as Opposition in Selangor?

I assume this RM150,000 a year is just his fixed/basic salary. What about fixed allowances, meeting allowances, travel allowances? What was the total expenditure by the Selangor Government on this "economist"?

Yes, I agree that if you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys. So, let's check the Economic Advisor's performance.

I know many people can do better analysis than me but let this kid here give it a try. All the data below are from the Dept of Statistics Malaysia - here

First stop, the GDP performance for the period 2010-2012.

Since Anwar was appointed as Selangor's Economic Advisor in Nov 2009,
  1. Selangor's GDP increased by 13.16% from RM156 bil in 2010 to RM176 bil in 2012.
  2. Selangor's compounded annual growth rate was at 6.38% for the period 2010-2012.
  3. Johor, Labuan, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah and Perak outperformed Selangor.
  4. Penang is in the bottom half of the league.

Now, take a look at the GDP per capita performance in Selangor vs other States.

Since Anwar was appointed as Selangor's Economic Advisor in Nov 2009,
  1. Selangor's GDP per capita increased by 14.87% from RM31,457 in 2010 to RM36,135 in 2012. 
  2. Selangor's GDP per capita CAGR was at 7.18% for the period 2010-2012.
  3. Johor, Labuan, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Malacca, Sarawak and Kedah performed better than Selangor
  4. Penang is rock bottom ... but never mind. The rocket will send everyone to the Moon.
(Note: If my math is wrong, it is an Excel error ya, bukan salah saya)

CM Lim, your think tank needs to .... well, think.

Important to note that other States don't have special Economic Advisors. If anyone needs it, it is our friend Lim Guan Eng.

Ladies and gentlemen, the most shocking part are not all of the above. It is actually the silence from my sweetheart in Serdang. Check @imokman 's tweets. If my eyes are still okay, there are a number of tweets on lizards but I couldnt find anything on Selangor salaries. Everyone knows his obsession with other people's salaries during his love-hate relationship with me here and here.

I wonder if he is busy shopping for my Christmas present. Hope it is not a lizard.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kevin Rudd retires from politics

While Twitterjaya was busy with the KJ - KPop and KJ - Siti Nurhaliza today, a tweet on my timeline caught my attention.

Kevin Rudd was Australia's 26th Prime Minister, first held Dec 07 - June 2010 when he defeated the Coalition led by then Prime Minister John Howard.

I was in Malaysia back in Dec 07 for my summer break but watched the campaign and elections closely. It was a brilliant election campaign - the Kevin 07 campaign.

It is either him or Kevin Rudd had good strategists. Labor Party picked a strong team with icons / popular figures like Maxine McKew who went on to unseat John Howard in Bennelong.

Kevin himself was also a sporting character. He was dancing with Kerri Anne Kennerley in the early part of 2007 (Dancing with KAK and Kevin , Sydney Morning Herald).

(Photo by Sydney Morning Herald, from the page Dancing with KAK and Kevin)

He even handled The Chasers very well when the comedians from ABC invited all of Kevin Rudd's Facebook friends to his house for a sleepover and even wanted to write on his "wall". Literally.

A sporting, friendly and professional politician indeed.

When I returned to Canberra in 2008 for my final year, I was there to watch perhaps one of the most historic moments in Australian history. The then Prime Minister of Australia, on behalf of the Government and people of Australia, apologized to Australia's Indigenous people on 13 Feb 2008. Let me share part of the speech or motion that was unanimously passed by Parliament

...The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future...

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry...

For those who are interested to read the whole text, click here. For those who wants to watch the video, click HERE.

Kevin Rudd was a key and instrumental figure in strengthening Australia's diplomatic and trade relations with China especially during the global financial crisis. Language was not a barrier as his proficiency in Chinese is 100 times better than me. Kevin Rudd holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies majoring in Chinese language and history from the Australian National University, Canberra.

His comeback as Prime Minister in 2013 to replace Julia Gillard was not enough to stop the slide of the Labor Party. If you have time, please watch the video of his speech after the election in which Labor Party lost to the Coalition led by Tony Abbott. I was glued to the screen throughout the whole 30 minutes - Part 1 and Part 2

I must show you here what he said when he conceded defeat to Tony Abbott in Sept 2013:  
"Tonight is the time to unite as the great Australian nation, because whatever our politics may be we are all first and foremost Australian".

In his farewell speech to the Parliament of Australia today, the MP of Griffith Kevin Rudd said:

"Madam Speaker, for the future my passion remains with indigenous reconciliation and in the year ahead I plan to establish a National Apology Foundation to keep alive the spirit and the substance of the apology I delivered in this place six years ago."

I will miss reading articles about him and will definitely miss watching his speeches on TV and Youtube. His dedication to the people of Australia and his leadership in Government represent those of a true leader and statesman.