Paper Castles In The Air

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, November 22, 2011 2 comments
The young indulge in building castles in the air whereas the rich and famous build paper castles! Recently, Sarawak Report carried an article HERE which said that "Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and PM Najib Razak have been trumpeting their economic policies in the light of plaudits given by an outfit called the Oxford Business Group."

According to Oxford Business Group’s (OBG) regional editor, Paulius Kucinas (at this link), Sarawak remained an attractive destination for capital investments as it rode on the structural rise for commodities worldwide. At the launch of The Report: Sarawak 2011, he said that it provides in-depth detail on Sarawak’ current economic outlook and what the future holds for the state.

The official Oxford Business Group site states that the report for Malaysia can be purchased at the cost of 130 pounds for the printed edition or 104 pounds for the digital edition which are available as soon as payment clears while print copies are shipped within 24 hours on business days. To receive the Economic Updates for the report, go to 'My Subscriptions'.

One puzzling fact though - Cost of the report  for Sarawak is 104 pounds but it is not stated as to whether it is the printed edition or the digital one.

For the report on Malaysia, one can opt to purchase individual chapters on Country Profile, Politics, Economy and Banking. For more information about the launching of the report in West Malaysia, check out THIS LINK.

I am not going to raise issues which have been comprehensively covered by Sarawak Report HERE (a must read for everyone!).

1. Why is the publication and writing of such reports given to overseas publishing houses? Surely our economy does not need more outflow of money for work that can be done by local publishing houses and writers!

2. Presumably, it must be quite expensive to have commissioned such reports. If indeed the intention is to give prospective investors more opportunities to discover more about Malaysia, surely a local publication would have ensured cheaper publications with better and more up-to-date data.

3. Working on the assumption that they wanted better quality writing for the reports to elevate their status, consider the following sentence taken from HERE and draw your own conclusions about the quality of writing. Do take note of the parts I highlighted in bold font and underscored:

Endowed with prodigious natural resources, including rubber, palm oil and oil and gas, Malaysia has expanded into manufacturing, services and tourism, and is seeking to move further up the value chain in industrial production.
So are they paying for quality writing? You be the judge!

The introduction to the report on Sarawak was written more stylishly. Check HERE. Excerpt:

Sarawak shares the island of Borneo with the Malaysian state of Sabah, the sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, and the Indonesian provinces of Kalimantan. Its 2.4m people are considered the most diverse of all Malaysian states, with a mix of indigenous Christian Ibans, Chinese, Muslim Malays, and many other ethnic and religious groups. The state’s chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, of the National Front party retained his hold on power by winning re-election in 2011, despite a strong showing by the opposition Democratic Action Party. Sarawak’s economic growth has long depended on the three key pillars of oil and gas, crude palm oil, and timber exports. A host of new sectors are set to receive a boost, however, under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), which aims to develop the state’s central region. SCORE will exploit Sarawak’s 20,000 MW of hydroelectric potential, using this power to develop industries in metallurgy, aquaculture, food processing, information technology, and downstream palm oil and timber products.

4. Perhaps the authorities concerned can respond to the following excerpts taken from Sarawak Report:

The London HQ advertised on the company’s website is in fact an office rental centre, where rooms can be let on demand. We were informed that the Oxford Business Group no longer has office space in the building, although “they sometimes still come in and out” .
However, the Editorial Director of these reports is none other than a former Editor of the UK’s most ridiculed porn rag, the Daily Sport, which closed earlier this year.
Did they check out the background of the company to see if they are legit set-ups or dodgy shady outfits?

5. Can the authorities concerned explain whether the funding for these reports are from taxpayers' money?

How much did the whole deal cost? What is the justification for paying for such lavish embellishment of facts and window dressing of our economic state?

6. If indeed the ETP can transform and triple our gross national income and make the country part of the developed world by 2020, why then is there a need to spend $$$ unnecessarily to prop up their public image and blow their own trumpets which sound weak and feeble at the moment?

7. Recently, S JAYASANKARAN of Singapore Business Times wrote a stinging article which said:

The Auditor-General’s recent report pointed out that Malaysia’s national debt rose 12.3 per cent to over RM407 billion (S$165 billion) in 2010. The amount is equivalent to 53.1 per cent of gross domestic product. It’s the second straight year that the national debt has exceeded 50 per cent.

The figure is a reflection of the spending spree the country went on to mitigate the effects of the 2009 global financial crisis. At its peak that year, the budget deficit rose to 7.6 per cent of GDP, the highest in two decades.

It has since come down to 5.4 per cent of GDP and the government projects that it will decline further to 4.7 per cent of GDP next year. But that may be overly optimistic.

Everyone knows why the debt has piled up: persistently high budget deficits over 14 years. But it is the pace of the rise that's alarming. Standout statistic: in the space of six years, total federal government debt has actually doubled from 2004. That way lies folly.

Malaysia's debt position is close to breaching legislative levels set a long time ago by Parliament. According to the Auditor-General's report, public debt from domestic sources rose RM41.76 billion to RM390.36 billion last year, while loans from foreign sources rose to RM16.75 billion, or up RM2.96 billion.
With such statistics, why are the authorities paying through their nose for such unwarranted window dressing?
Shouldn't the $$$ spent have been invested in other worthwhile projects that would DIRECTLY benefit our citizens without causing an outflow of money from this country?

Most alarmingly, S. Jayasankaran also said that according to the country's central bank, the national debt as at June 30, 2011 has risen to RM437 billion, with domestic debt amounting to RM421 billion and foreign debt at RM16 billion. He said that next year, it's estimated that the debt will breach RM455 billion - almost 54 per cent of GDP.

So is there any justification or rationale for building such paper castles in the air which could be easily blown away in any direction? And we have to pay for these 'props' that are supposed to give them a momentary feel good sensation? Good heavens!

Come to think of it, isn't this how our money is flying away? In any direction according to the whims and fancies of some?

2 comments to Paper Castles In The Air

  1. says:

    flyer168 Hello,

    Despotic Political Leaders are all the same...

    Just look at Jibby & Taib who have nowhere to run from "Investigative Journalists/Bloggers" hounding them...

    In desperation they have descended from APCO, FBC and now the OBG "whose group Editorial Director of these reports is none other than a former Editor of the UK’s most ridiculed porn rag"

    More Big Boobs By Taib! รข€“ Expose | Sarawak Report -

    Just to share this...

    Some PR advice for you ruthless despots - Scott Feschuk, Top05 - -

    "...Despite all the uprisings and the protests against oppression, it’s important not to panic and get spooked…

    Unless getting spooked will make you more likely to put Feschuk Worldwide Consulting on an exorbitant retainer, in which case: BOO!"

    In finality...

    Reputation Management is impossible to use for a makeover when the commodity is damaged!

    You be the judge.


  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Thank you for sharing such valuable information, Flyer168!

    Take care and do keep in touch.


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