Blog Page 19

Syed Saddiq – What a performance!

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Syed Saddiq delivered a very mature performance. Resisted cheap shots, stayed on message.

Syed Saddiq delivered a Ministerial level performance at today’s debate organised by Sinar Harian. It was so impressive that The Rembau Times decided that this was perhaps the better aspect to highlight, which is the depth of talent pool available in Pakatan Harapan rather than to call out the UMNO Youth’s debaters assertion that the BN Government ‘has never lied to the people.’

The key takeaway was Syed Saddiq’s outstanding performance as a future leader of the country. These are the things we liked best about his performance.

  1. Not emotional at all – Even though the 1MDB issue seemed like the easiest way to score points, he stuck on message about his vision on education and uplifting the youth. A lot of his points were about the new Government policies to be introduced by a potential Pakatan Harapan Government. Stayed on message.
  2. He knows his facts, man. – When jabbed by his opponent that Pakatan Harapan had promised a RM 1,500 minimum wage, Syed Saddiq shot back. What a response when he mentioned that he would know about the promise because he was part of the team that actually drafted the manifesto. The increase happens over time and the Government will support employers on an interim basis.
  3. The best was still the come back to the allegation by his opponent that no leader in the world has raised 3 billionaires. What a come back! Syed Saddiq said that Tun has been out of the Government for about 15 years, and why hasn’t the MACC investigated him if indeed he abused his power to enrich his children.

Syed Saddiq’s performance was very professional as his appeal is to increase the vote bank. His opponent lost the audience when he claimed that BN Government has never lied to the public (cough, cough) and his cheap shot attack at Tun Mahathir. Syed Saddiq’s response that even though he respected Tun Mahathir, that was not the reason why he joined politics but rather to fight the injustice that happened after witnessing students getting suspended for debating GST.

Great, professional, disciplined and ministerial level quality. 

Shows a lot of integrity, a great asset to the country.

A concerned BN voter asked what is the guarantee that the BN Government will not repeat its lies to the public. The debaters answer was classic BN – “We have never lied.” Like if you can’t afford chicken, ‘jangan makan ayam.’ Classic!

Die die China wont fold

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The Rembau Times takes a short breather from ‘the old engine of local politics’ to focus the Captain on an important event this week – the beginning of  Earnings season for some of the large cap stocks in the US Market. Earnings season should last about a month and promises plenty of surprises. Implied vols are also high, it may be worth to enter after the news?

Honestly, The ‘1RDB’ (1 Rembau Development Berhad) fund took a massive hit over the last 2 weeks as our fund managers completely missed the selloff due to rising trade tensions between China and the United States. In fact, if you had got this event correctly, you could have made about 20 to 30x return on capital over 10 trading days.

The origins of this had to do with the removal of key ‘globalist’ personnel in the White House, culminating in the departure of Gary Cohn.  The void was filled by Peter Navarro, a staunch ‘anti China’ voice who has risen to power in the White House.

The tit-for-tat tariffs were as follows

  • US hit China with 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminium and China hit back with $3billion tariffs on a variety of products including ‘pork’ (‘babi’).
  • US proposed to hit China with $50 billion tariffs on technology exports and China hit back with proposed tariffs of $50 billion on key US manufacturing exports, including capital goods and aircraft (old type).
  • Trump doubled down and proposed to hit China with $100 billion of tariffs and China hit back with proposed tariffs of $100 billion covering soybeans and propane.

(Note to readers: US Shale oil production produce a lot of ‘light end’ petroleum products, one component is called Natural Gas Liquids (NGL). Natural Gas liquids consists mainly of ethane, propane, butane and pentane.  Natural Gas consists mostly of methane. NGL prices are determined on its composition – a good index is the Mount Belvieu, Texas FOB propane price).

These are the questions the 1RDB Fund Managers will be asking :-

The question is all about solving this equation :-

“Trumpistan is now saying that China will have to blink first. ‘Die, die, China won’t back down’ but at the same time Trump may be facing a blow back from his base who does not like these tariffs and the fact that their share portfolio got hammered”

The question is what will Trumpistan do this week – Do nothing,  escalate or de-escalate.

Other questions that are playing in 1RDB Fund Manager’s mind :-

  • 1RDB wants to go long JP Morgan, Citigroup and even Goldman Sachs put we need to figure out what is the price which is ‘resilient’ enough to go in. If the news cycle is positive, negative, positive negative then it means to stay out of the market until we get a negative, negative news cycle. JP Morgan at $107-$107.50 seems to be the key support level according to last weeks trading.
  • Another stock that 1RDB wants to enter a position is Devon Energy. Alas, our Fund Manager got ‘mabuk’ and instead of doubling down on a position at $30.5 call, pressed close the trade and messed things up.  Only ‘Vegas style coffee’ for him when he is trading the market.  But the risk is that Devon Energy does produce a fair bit of propane as well as Bitumen, and earnings is around Week 1 of May.  Only a patient ‘sifu’ will wait for a $30 entry position. Our Fund Manager thinks that Oil at $60 should mean Devon Energy at $35 at least, all things being equal.
  • We missed the rally of Exxon Mobil from $72 to $75. Exxon Mobil was getting beaten up for some time since earnings season in January when it was trading towards $87, before entering the biggest collapse in about 3 years.
  • Other stocks look too beaten up to launch a short position.  Our Fund Managers think that maybe last year momentum stocks like Caterpillar should be avoided due to the risk over trade.  Maybe there is a rotation into value?
  • No, no, no –  perhaps a sustained tech rally. Great value at these depressed prices. But then again many brave momentum chasers died in vain last week.

But beware the shape of the Treasuries. Will the compression between 2 vs 10 , the TED spread and the biggest issue, the spike in LIBOR! 

Don’t know yet, but alas today 1RDB Fund Managers are still on a ‘Red card’ due to some Trading Violations .

Dow Futures up about 160 points.

1RDB asks how to dance this week? 

Good luck in the Kitchen

[10:26 pm] Trading restriction lifted tomorrow. No new position except long Citeh at $72 Call. Hidup Citeh (Not Man City, but Citigroup)

 

Rembau Times predicts the final score in Kedah and Perlis

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What happened Datuk?

In the 13th General Election, the combination of PAS poor state leadership and the Mukhriz factor led BN to retake the state after it fell to Pakatan Rakyat in 2008.  BN also did very well in the Parliament seats, winning 10 out of the 15 parliament seats in the ‘Paddy Field State’.

This time round, the Rembau Times is predicting Pakatan Harapan to win Kedah outright at the state and to make a clean sweep of the Parliamentary seats.

Our bold prediction for Kedah is 15 – 0 in favour of Pakatan Harapan.

Does this sound ridiculous?

Not really when you consider what was BN’s overall majority in the Parliament seats it had won. In the 10 seats BN won, ex Langkawi, which was, Jerlun, Kubang Pasu,Padang Terap, Pendang, Jerai, Sik, Merbok, Baling and Kulim Bandar Bahru the total parliament majority was 47,836.  The total number of votes cast in the 295,058 votes for BN, with versus 247,222 for Pakatan Rakyat and the overall majority was about 8.8% of total votes cast.

With the dissatisfaction among UMNO voters on GST, the angst over Government scandals, Tun’s aura, and the decision of ROS to deregister Bersatu beginning to make an impact, we can safely for GE 14, BN is entering this election on a ‘stress test case’ .

The only thing is to determine is whether it is on ‘Moderate Stress’ or ‘Worst Case scenario’. All indications are that this may be a worst case scenario as the BN candidates may not match Tun’s popularirty in the state.

 

BN's defense of Kedah rests on the shoulders of 2 Federal Ministers 
- Johari Bahrom and Det Khalid. Other key leaders are Datuk Azeez (our favourite
BN MP) and Kedah MB, Dato Seri Ahmad Bashah. They are facing a formidable threat 
from Pribumi, which has already made some serious in-roads into traditional UMNO 
areas.

For the ‘moderate stress case’ this means that the immediate base assumption is a loss of 10% of the votes immediately, or 29,000 votes due to voter dissatisfaction.  If you add other factors, you look at a loss of another 7%, or another 20,000 votes, leading to a total loss of 49,000 votes, which now goes immediately to Pribumi/Pakatan Harapan.  Thus BN can look to poll about 246,000 votes in the 10 seats they won. And Pakatan Haparan can look to gain at least 45,000 of the votes BN is poised to lose, giving it a total of 292,222 votes before accounting for votes lost due to PAS.

Assuming that PAS spoiler votes now account for about 13% of the initial votes Pakatan Rakyat obtained in 2013, this looks like a net loss of 30,000 votes. So the net result will be BN/UMNO polling  246,000 votes, Pribumi/Pakatan Harapan with 262,222 votes and PAS with 30,000 votes.

Distribute these over 10 electoral seats and it is very difficult for BN to win any of the seats in Kedah.

Once this result is confirmed BN/UMNO is now looking at the makings of a major catastrophic defeat.  That is with  ‘major’ underlined and re-underlined. The reason is what is mathematically termed the ‘volatility of the majority’, which deserves some explanation.

Why so sad?

When we look at determining the outcome of a contest based on who gets the most seats, losing 1 seat is not the same when you are the incumbent and you lose the seat to your nearest challenger. BN starts the 2018 General Election with a 55 seat advantage or 68 seats if it you add ‘ the PAS’ to the equation. To win the election, Pakatan Harapan needs to gain 28 seats which were previously won by BN and about 7 seats which were previously won by PAS, a total gain of 35 seats.

Ini baru ok, Apabila keris sudah tersisik di pinggang, Apabila selempang sudah diletak dibadan, pantang undur pendekar berpulang  – Putrajaya mesti dipertahankan. Wuuuuuw!

Lets us explain this a bit more.

If BN loses 28 seats, BN outright advantage drops to 27 seats.  But it will not lose to ‘the PAS’ but loses it to its nearest challenger, so the total of its challenger increases by 28 seats. The net result is that the majority over its closest challenger does not drop by 28 but by a whopping 56.  And that is what Tan Sri Muhiyiddin, when he was the Director of Elections for BN had wanted to tell them in Janda Baik. Small shifts can have devastating consequences and BN is now set to face an earthquake and a tsunami rolled into one.

Rembau Times is predicting that the final tally out of the 2 Northern most states will read Pakatan Harapan 16 (winning all 15 in Kedah and 1 in Perlis) and BN 2.  This is a reversal of 2013 where BN won all seats in Perlis and 10 seats in Kedah, leading to a total of 13 seats. The reversal is BN loses 11 seats and Pakatan Harapan gains 11 seats, a net swing of 22 seats.  22 down, 33 to go and we have not yet accounted for the other major defeats BN will face in the key population centres in Pahang, Perak Johor, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan.

Rembau Times endorses Dato Azeez as the preferred candidate for the 9th Prime Minister of Malaysia. Hidup Dato Azzezzzz!

 

 

 

DAP’s Queen Sacrifice

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The Rembau Times has at times disagreed with the DAP and its leadership. However, the decision to forgo ‘the Rocket’ in favour of a common party symbol for the 14th General Election can only be described as a ‘stroke of tactical genius.’

The Rembau Times likens this as ‘a George Soros style bet’, in allusion to the £ 1 billion short pound bet placed by George Soros in 1992.  These are the kind of moves, which if it gets right gets written into history. Already Government Ministers like Keruak have sounded the alarm and accused the Oppositon of ‘playing unfair’ because they exercised far more intelligence than UMNO/BN expected of them.

The DAP is not settling for just winning the Chinese vote, it is going for broke, going for ‘the Title.’

The reason is that the last 8 years, rightfully or wrongfully, UMNO/BN’s entire messaging to the Malays is that the ‘Rocket’ is a symbol that is to be feared and hated.  Rightfully or wrongfully, the Rocket is not well received in key rural Malay hinterlands but at the same time is adored by many in the key urban/town areas.

The decision by Lim Guan Eng and Lim Kit Siang is a very brave one. No doubt, some party members would remind the leadership of the failed pacts previously when DAP lost key seats because they were seen to be subservient to other interest.  Thus this decision must have been a very tough one.

But the DAP has got the sums right. Without the Rocket in the background of Malay public consciousness, BN is suddenly thrown into a state of confusion.  Attacking the Oppositon as being subservient to the DAP when the Malay electorate cannot even spot the Rocket in the election paraphernalia ? This act is called ‘chasing after shadows.’

At the same time, it once and for all silences the perception that the Opposition alliance led by Tun Dr Mahathir will be dominated by Non-Malays. The DAP has proven to the Malay electorate that it is willing to forgo its symbol and be subject to Malay leadership.  This is extremely important for the Pakatan Harapan allies, especially Pribumi Bersatu who is eyeing the ‘big prize’ of taking on UMNO/BN in the deep rural Malay dominated regions in Malaysia.

The DAP no doubt will have to appease their supporters and the base over this move. But their base has voted for PKR symbol before, has voted for the Moon before, and with some cajoling and consolation, will no doubt vote for whatever symbol to be unveiled tonight.  And who knows, this act may make it possible for DAP to win over more Malay votes in the areas that they contest as well.

This is an act of self-sacrifice by the DAP. The DAP sacrificed their ‘queen’ to win the game.

What a move, what a move!

Don’t cry Tun, the path to victory is clearer than ever

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Tun Mahathir reacts to ROS decision. Credits: Malaysiakini

The entire country today was shaken with the decision by the Director General of the Registrar of Societies to slap a temporary disband order on the Pribumi Bersatu party, helmed by Tun Dr Mahathir, Tan Sri Muhiyiddin Yassin and Dato Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.

Pribumi is now officially disbanded due to a decree issued by ROS.

Even though many had feared that this decision was on the horizon, the news came as a shock and was met with disappointment among the many segments of the rakyat who saw Pribumi as a the natural successor to break the BN-UMNO hegemony and to return the country to a path of normalisation after languishing under 9 years of rule by the ‘Cash is King’ Prime Minister.

The ROS DG today disbanded Pribumi Bersatu in a midday press conference. The Rembau Times sees this as a decision that will backfire badly on the Government, once the initial shock wears off in 24 to 48 hours.

However, at the same time this bad news was released, the latest election polling data indicates that the support for Pakatan Harapan is on a firm upward swing and now rivals that of Barisan Nasional. In the Institute Darul Ehsan, IDE, survey released today, support for Pakatan Harapan was at 41%, which matches BN’s support at 42%. At the same time, all indications seem to validate the common wisdom that PAS will be wiped out at this election as its support fell to 13% from 18%.

IDE’s survey also indicated that Pakatan Harapan is poised to capture almost the entire West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. PH will retain Penang and Selangor easily, and will most likely capture Kedah, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan.  This study was among 4,920 respondents and was conducted in middle of March.

Crucially, the IDE survey indicated that 61% supported for Tun Dr Mahathir to become Prime Minister as opposed to only 39% which supported CIK Najib. This is a massive 22 percentage point gap in favour of Tun, which gives a better indication of how upset the voters are with the current Prime Minister and how much they are willing to trust 93 year old Tun to helm the country. This is the key statistic as BN supporting voters may vote BN for state but Pakatan for parliament.

However, the Rembau Times is issuing an ever more bullish call and is predicting that Perak will fall as well to Pakatan Harapan, as well as many seats in Pahang as well. Pahang may be in play and a strong push into the heart of Najibland may see the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia fall into the hands of the more determined, more respectable and more youthful Opposition.

This is because of several reasons, namely the revelation of Nik Abduh’s admission that PAS accepted money from UMNO will further sap support from PAS, the undersampling of the key swing segment – Saluran 1 Malay voters who will only pretend to support the Government until polling day and the outpouring of sympathy after ROS controversial decision.

There is also another factor that is very unique to financial markets, but is equally relevant to political situations as both involve human emotions.

That reason is ‘Momentum.’

Momentum is a purely emotional decision. And ROS decision has given Pakatan Harapan the best possible Momentum because it will trigger sympathy among the ‘BN leaning’ voters, who may have hated to vote BN but were still going to do so.

This is because nobody likes a coward, and people slightly lower in the economic ladder will see this as further evidence that the Government is trying to deprive them of the one thing that is equal among all Malaysians – their right to choose their own party.

Like a momentum stock, Pakatan Harapan, under which ever logo it chooses to contest has already broken key resistance levels by being able to penetrate ‘impossible to penetrate’ Felda settlements. For the Government to think that this was purely due to a prettier Bunga Raya motif reflects a shallow understanding of how brands work.

To think voters as being so stupid that they would vote Pakatan Harapan based on a fancy colour is stupid. To think that those disappointed UMNO voters will somehow be unable to vote a PKR logo is stupid as well. This sort of differentiation only works when people make a low involvement decision, like buying a cola. ROS decision has made the election a high involvement decision as it will anger many people. Many who were secretly interested to find out more about Pribumi , but were unwilling to commit will decide that the only way to find out more is to vote whichever logo that is not the Dacing or the Bulan.

While previously, Pakatan Rakyat lost the bulk of Felda PDMs by a wide margin,  Pakatan Harapan may actually win some or lose others with a small margin. In those parliamentary seats, such as the Pahang VIP corridor, Pakatan Harapan will run to victory due to strong support in the town areas. PH can expect to win the entire Pahang VIP corridor, from Bera, Cameron Highlands, Raub, seize Temerloh from the PAS and even make BN sweat in Jerantut.

This is the ‘stretch target’ that Pakatan Harapan can aim for as the heavy bombardment on the West coast has made previously BN safe seats now firmly in Pakatan Harapan territory. The Rembau Times reiterates its bullish call – 110 seats in Peninsular Malaysia for Pakatan Harapan, and the end of the CIK regime is about 60 days away.

 

State Visits

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Note: We were watching Dr Mahathir’s ceramah at Felda Jengka when he mentioned about the different treatment accorded to him versus Najib. See for yourself .  Hopefully BN leaders will actually realize that they have no more struggle except for themselves.

Fireside chat between Dato Seri Dr Mahathir and President Reagan. At the side is Vice President Bush. Very friendly and Tun made a joke about the weather being very British.
Formal ceremony to welcome Dato Seri Mahathir , in respect of Malaysia.
Joint press conference with the US President. Malaysia’s flag was flying side by side.
Dato Seri addressing the global press in a joint press conference. Very diplomatic and high protocol accorded to Malaysia’s leader.

And for Dato Seri Najib,

This is like a scene of the Apprentice. US leaders give a stern look towards Najib. No warmth, as they have heard about 1MDB. Maybe Trump may say ‘ You’re FIRED’ to  Najib in this special episode.
This is embarrassing. Trump is showing no respect at all, folding his hands and showing extreme disrespect to his guest. By the way, Najib went there to help grow the $15 trillion dollar US economy.
The meeting was so awkward that US talks show host made fun of it.
At least Mustapha Mohammad recognizes that this is embarrassing and looks down at the table.

But the Prime Minister should not be too embarassed by this…

Treated badly by the West, Najib can always look forward to this when at home. 

The first of 44 Seats to VJ day

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44 seats to VJ Day

In approximately 7 weeks time, the destiny of the country will be decided through the ballot box in the 14th Malaysian General Election. The stakes could not be higher on this momentous event. If Barisan Nasional wins, Malaysia may never recover and may be lost forever, destined to Kleptocracy, supporting Jho Low and decades of misrule.  If the Pribumi led Pakatan Harapan alliance wins, the people will be free from the worst corrupt acts in living memory and the 1MDB conspirators will finally be brought to justice. It may even be that Equanimity will be turned to a national monument for generations to come to remember how this Government Ministers like Nazri and Keruak defended Jho Low even when it was obvious billions of Ringgit of public funds were stolen by him so that he could get more girlfriends.

However, 44 Parliament Seats in Peninsular Malaysia stand between victory and defeat, life and death. Of these 44 seats, 39 seats were won by BN that form the bulk of the BN majority in Parliament. To liberate Malaysia, the Pakatan Harapan allies must win 35 of them, or 30 more than they managed to win in the last election. To do this they will need to reach out to 2,468,697 voters and convince them to vote for a better future and to save the country a bleak future under ‘Kleptocracy’ and ‘Cash is King’.

We start today with the first of these seats, the aptly named P001 – Padang Besar.

Conventional wisdom was that it is inconceivable for Barisan Nasional to lose Padang Besar, the northern most Parliament seat in Peninsular Malaysia. This seat has 42,293 voters and consists of 5 state seats – Titi Tinggi, Beseri, Chuping, Mata Ayer and Santan. There are altogether 27 voting districts centres in this constituency, with the key PDMs are Tok Kaya Man (3,209),  Tunjong (2,955), Panggas (2,747) ,Titi Tinggi (2,196), Beseri (2,166),  Padang Besar (2,045) and FELDA Chuping (1,964).

In 2013, BN won this seat with a majority of 7,426 with a voter turnout of 86%.  BN’s defence of this seat is extremely formidable with plenty of heavy artillery. This seat has never been lost by BN in the history of its 23 years of its existence as a Federal parliamentary seat.

However, this seat is a ‘must win’ seat for Pakatan Harapan allies in their patriotic quest to liberate the country from Kleptocracy. The strategic importance of Padang Besar cannot be understated.  Padang Besar is a bedrock of the BN majority in Parliament.  If the ‘Jho Low regime’ began to  think that they could lose Padang Besar, they will be in a state of panic. To win, Pakatan Harapn must target to convince approximately 20,000 voters to support them. In 2013, Pakatan Rakyat with the PAS managed to convince 14,047 voters.

To take this seat, PH needs about 200 full time brave election workers to canvass the area. The strategy to conquer Padang Besar requires a full on assault on the key UMNO voting areas, one on talks with the village elders, convincing the youths to vote for a Government that will care for them, making inroads into PAS villages and solid knowledge of the terrain. Pribumi and Pakatan Harapan have actually done a tremendous job in bringing the heavy artillery to soften the ground. On March 28, Pakatan Harapan leadership launched a surprise night raid with pictures that reverberated throughout the country.

Estimates are more than 10,000 turned up to support Pakatan Harapan’s rally in tiny Perlis. The Malay tsunami is real and coming from the North.

Under the dark of night, and even with threats and extreme pressure, thousands of Padang Besar voters turned out and stayed late into the night to listen to the Pakatan Harapan leadership outline their vision of how they will rebuild the country.

Pakatan campaign machinery has amazing creative talent. A very well thoughtout poster that must have viraled and triggered succesful event.

This was met with sheer disbelief in Putrajaya.  ‘Jelajah Harapan Perlis 2018’ is a low key event. It is designed to build momentum leading up to the election. It was never designed to be a show of force but what a show of force it turned out to be.

These pictures were even before the campaign started. Padang Besar is ‘in play’ and ‘the Jho Low regime’ recognize they have a fight on their hand.

In an admission of how badly BN was shaken, not long after this, the Election Commission issued the most ridiculous of proclamations – ‘No images of Dr Mahathir on Electoral posters.’ If this is the standard of strategic response by the ‘Jho Low Regime’ to the biggest threat facing their existence, the brave Allies have a lot to be thankful for.  It is an admission of defeat by the enemy, most likely to be overturned either through a court order or circumvented through other marketing and messaging means. It gives more confidence to Pakatan Harapan and its leadership to press on to target other areas. If Pakatan Harapan does take power, they should probably spare the election strategists of the Jho Low Regime because they really ‘suck’ at their job.

Pakatan Harapan has made inroads into Padang Besar, unparalleled in the history of Malaysia. But everybody needs to continue to work hard and take nothing for granted until we can celebrate ‘V-J’ Day or ‘Victory over  Jho Low Day’.

The Malay Tsunami is real and is coming your way

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The term ‘Malay Tsunami’ was attributed to DAP Strategist Liew Chin Tong in the aftermath of the results 13th General Election, who must have first conceived it  more out of desperation rather than any tangible hope. This is because the racial demographics in Malaysia, the history, the socio-political system and even the constitution as it is interpreted in the current setting makes Malaysia firmly a Malay dominated nation. Without the support of the Malays, the Opposition coalition of the day will remain just that – the members of the minority of the country’s legislative assembly.

In all honesty, the idea of the UMNO dominated Barisan Nasional government losing the support of the Malays in the age of extreme polarization among the races was inconceivable even as late as mid 2017.  Malays occupied  power within the entire Federal Governments and many State Governments, law enforcement, the judiciary, the religious establishment and even the sprawling Government linked companies  . The Government’s role in influencing the life of the Malay population was almost total and for many, this literally covered from the cradle to the grave.

Pakatan Harapan mega rally in Kedah smashed expectations

Then something happened in between the spring of 2017 and early 2018.

The reason has much to do with the same reason that propelled Donald Trump to the Presidency, an event that the Rembau Times predicted in its ground breaking piece , which was made 2 days before the US Election when every opinion poll had put Hilary Clinton ahead. As it stands, the Rembau Times is sticking with its call that this election will see a change of Government, and today we will provide the reason why this now looks more likely than ever.  We will explore the financial implication of this on the near term economy in another piece, though we caution that the near term implication is not positive as the investment community is still basing investment decisions on BN winning a strong mandate.

Massive rally in Felda Besout in Perak. Felda settlements influence up to 54 parliament seats. Never has the Opposition managed to penetrate these strongholds, that is until now.

The reason behind this is down to a combination of many factors, where the sum is greater than the parts.  But to put things in context, there are some factors which play a bigger role, which we will focus initially.

The number one factor, which was put very simply to us by a new voter we interviewed, a Malay youth in a traditional BN voting state was this – “I am looking for a Government which cares for the people.”

And to the state the obvious, he was not talking about BN as he proceeded to describe the current leadership in most polite ‘macam itulah’ put down whilst shaking his head.

Why so sad? Lately, UMNO leaders have been looking sad when caught off camera. In contrast, Pakatan top leadership has been looking more and more like one happy family.

As simple as this sounds, this gets missed by those who occupy the corridors of power. The Democrats in their ‘globalist agenda’ run roughshod over the rust belts and took the support of the Blue Dog Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan for granted. Similarly, the BN Government has failed miserably in actually making life easier for a vast segment of the Malay community, especially Malay youths and young parents with families.

Malay youths currently are perhaps the most economically pressed segment in the Malaysian community. Most of them were members of large families, and only recently entered the adult life due to the population explosion created from the late 1980s, when the country’s economic development was strongest. Until they entered adulthood, most of them were lulled into a sense of complacency that the Government will provide a quality of life commensurate with their expectations.  However, as Malaysia fell into the middle income trap and imported vast quantities of foreign labor, their chances for achieving economic well-being was stunted and they are now a largely forgotten segment of society, unable to even dream of owning a house due to low wages and high cost of housing. This is the segment that BN should be most afraid of – “the angry young Malay male.”

The second reason is the GST, and the reason is due to Behavioral Finance.  Revenues from the Goods and Services Tax is expected to exceed RM 42 billion this year. This means that over a 5 year term, the Government will collect something of the order of RM 210 billion from the population, which will disproportionately be over represented by Malays due to their demographic makeup. This is not a small sum and the impact has been seen through rising prices, which is predicted by basic microeconomics.  Now, other Governments do collect GST, but in return they give some semblance of good governance or they do away with elections. This is because the tax payer now sees themselves as paying for Government services and any notion that the Government should expect the citizens of  being in a state of perpetual gratefulness and subservience is not reflective of economic or political reality.

Of course, the discussion is not complete without mentioning that nauseous word – 1MDB. The answer is that 1MDB does not matter and 1MDB is precisely the reason for BN’s downfall.

The rural voter cannot understand nor does he or she want to understand the 1MDB issue.  However, the 1MDB scandal is the reason for the biggest threat facing BN, because it motivated the one of the most influential persons in the history of Malaysia as an independent nation, and the architect of the Government system as it is now to go on a ‘do or die’ mission to take on his creation. And like it or not, even at the age of 92, Tun Mahathir still has the presence and the oratorical skill to hold his audience.  The Pribumi led alliance now uses him as the ‘main event’, and people are willing to brave the rain and stay up late to hear him. Now even though the 1MDB issue does not matter, the longer Tun Dr Mahathir talks about the scandal, the more his audience will be ‘mentally conditioned’ to see the Prime Minister the way Tun Dr Mahathir portrays him. And this is disastrous for the Government that is joined to the hip of the Prime Minister.

BN’s public messaging in Johor is now focused almost exclusively on the popular Menteri Besar. It is difficult to find similarly large posters featuring the Prime Minister in Johor Bahru.

Malay youths are now openly saying that Pribumi, is the natural successor of their political aspirations and bear no loyalty to UMNO.  Or in their words, ‘Pribumi semakin rancak.’

What is worse is that the emergence of a more youth based party is in contrast to UMNO embracing feudalism more than ever before. Feudalism is a dead and  is totally against how the Malay society is evolving into a consumer based society. This form of feudalism where old faces never retire is in stark contrast to the new approach formulated by Pribumi, which offers more advantages than UMNO without the cost.  Pribumi gives the forgotten Malay community, the rural Gen 2 voters, the ‘angry young male’ and even the disappointed hardcore UMNO voter  a chance to participate in the political process in a way that UMNO in its current form can never hope to even match.

Apr 6 – Launch of Pakatan Harapan’s election campaign in the traditional BN state of Johor.

The greatest threat still lies in wait for BN. The Pribumi led Opposition alliance has begun to show its capability in successfully organizing mass gatherings in traditional UMNO states. Now, for this to be achieved by a party that is not even a year old in public consciousness, and that without the backing of PAS which had long provided the organisational backbone of the Opposition can only mean one of 2 conclusions.

Which is, the BN machinery at the grassroots is now being converted to support Pribumi, or that Pribumi is attracting new individuals to its core organisational structure. These same factors resulted in the history making US Presidential election, and we see it playing out here in Malaysia as well.

Armada Pakatan Harapan menghala ke Putrajaya

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Kelangsungan pucuk pimpinan Pakatan Harapan mengasak kubu-kubu kuat Barisan Nasional yang  dipegangi sejak zaman kemerdekaan nampaknya sudah mula membuahkan hasil.

Tun Mahathir semakin kelihatan seperti bakal Perdana Menteri

Diketuai oleh Tun Dr Mahathir, beliau memainkan peranan umpama ‘Winston Churchil’, Perdana Menteri Britain ketika Perang Dunia Kedua yang terkenal dengan ucapannya yang begitu menaikkan semangat warganegara British untuk terus bertahan dan tidak mengalah kepada pihak Nazi. Program-program yang dianjurkan oleh Pakatan Harapan mendapat sambutan luar biasa meskipun diadakan di kubu kuat Barisan Nasional. Kalau dahulunya pembangkang akan dihalau keluar dari tempat tersebut, tetapi kini ramai yang sudi hadir, bersembunyi dalam kegelapan atau menjenguk keluar tingkap hanya untuk mendengar ucapan Tun yang begitu bersemangat mengajak rakyat membuat perubahan untuk menyelematakan negara dari kleptokrasi.

Dato Seri Mukhriz menggempur di Utara sementera Tun Mahathir menggempur di Selatan

Tidak sekadar itu, malah pasukan pimpinan teratas Pakatan Harapan sudah nampak begitu cekap memainkan peranan masing-masing dalam menyempurnakan aturcara yang dianjurkan oleh jentera parti PH.  Cara penyampaiaan ceramah oleh Mat Sabu yang banyak menyelit cerita jenaka dan pandai mengubah nada suara, kadang kala ‘slow’ untuk membina perhatiaan dan kemudiaan meletup untuk menekankan intipatinya amat tepat kepada pengundi luar bandar. Lagipun kalau dahulu BN berkempen berbekal video kurang enak , sekarang pula PH berkempen berbekal rakaman audio pemimpin PAS yang mengaku mendapat sogokan ‘Cash is King’ dari UMNO.

Tan Sri Muhiyiddin pula berucap sama seperti seorang pemimpin nasional dimana kandungan isi ceramahnya penuh dengan fakta dan penganalisan yang tepat.

Manifesto Pakatan Harapan banyak membantu peneroka Felda berkat usaha Sdr Mazlan Aliman.

Saudara Mazlan Aliman pula boleh bergelar ‘Mister Felda’.

Kesemua pekara, butir data berkenaan campur tangan mahluk halus dan transaksi yang mencurigakan yang berasal dari Wisma Felda sudah nampaknya berada di tangan beliau. Berdasarkan fakta dan butiran tersebut ,beliau boleh berhujah dengan penuh keyakinan. Ini menyebabkan pembangkang mula diterima di rancangan tanah Felda banyak disebabkan oleh pengurusan Felda yang lemah dimana peneroka dibebankan dengan hutang beratus ribu ringgit. Kini, peneroka – peneroka Felda yang menganggap diri mereka sebagai pengundi ‘totok UMNO’ sudah tidak malu lagi bersalaman dan memninta pandangan dari saudara Mazlan berkenaan apakah langkah baru yang bakal diambil oleh kerajaan PH jikalau mereka berkuasa kelak nanti.  Berbanding pemimpin UMNO yang kadang-kala berhujah secara berterabur, saudara Mazlan nampaknya begitu cekap mengupas dengan mendalam berkenaan segala bantuan yang bakal disalurkan jikalau PH mengambil alih tampuk pemerintahaan.

Pemimpin negara, wira bangsa dan bukan pemakan dedak

Pemimpin –peminpin lain, tidak kira dari Lim Guan Eng bersama cadre-cadre DAP seperti Liew Chin Tong dan pemimpin PKR masing-masing memainkan peranan masing-masing. Meskipun pada lewat Feb 2018, The Rembau Times telah meramalkan kemenangan bagi Pakatan Harapan namun kesudiaan rakyat berbilang kaum, khususnya pengudi Melayu, memeriahkan upacara Pakatan Harapan jauh diluar dugaan kami. Lonjakan sokongan yang telah diberi menguatkan lagi ‘momentum’ jentera PH menghadapi pilihanraya dan memberi kepercayaan kepada pemimpin, penyokong dan pengundi bahawa sesuatu yang amat luar biasa bakal berlaku.

Mula bergerak sebagai satu pasukan.

Sebaliknya, jentera parti Barisan Nasional nampaknya tidak begitu bertenaga. Program-program yang dianjurkan nampaknya sama dan tidak banyak berubah.

Apakah sokongan rakyat yang digembar-gemburkan sekadar wayang Kabuki untuk menyedapkan hati pemimpin besar.

Kehadiraan pun banyak kali diwajibkan dan pemimpin BN sendiri kadang kala tidak tahu samada gambaran yang diberi itu benar ataupun lakonan “Kabuki” yang mungkin berakhir dengan bab tragedi.  Tiada mesej jelas yang cuba disampaikan kepada rakyat selain cuba menggambarkan Tun Dr Mahathir sebagai punca segala penderitaan didalam dunia.

The Rembau Times boleh memberi jaminan bahawa strategi ini akan hancur sama sekali. Mesej BN yang begitu tertumpu untuk menghentam PH sebagai kuda tunggangan DAP tidak lagi berbuah hasil kerana barisan kepimpinan tertinggi PH terdiri dari orang Melayu. Rakyat yang kian menderita disebabkan oleh GST dan kesan skandal 1MDB kepada nilai matawang ringgit boleh siapakah manikam dan siapakah Maniam.

Biarlah pemimpin BN yang masih waras pemikirannya mula mengatur ‘Pelan B’ dan tidak bersama menghentam Tun Dr Mahathir kerana khuatir nanti akan terpaksa insaf kelak.

Natijahnya, kesimpulan yang dapat diperolehi dari roadshow – roadshow PH yang diadakan di merata tempat di Malaysia adalah jelas. Berdasarkan sokongan yang diberi, sudah jelas rakyat menganggap Pakatan Harapan ini umpama armada besar yang sedang menghala ke Putrajaya.  Amat mendukacitakan menjadi pemimpin kerajaan yang hanya mampu membisu meskipun khazanah negara dirembat oleh Jho Lo dan seketunya. Lebih mendukacitakan lagi menjadi pembangkang kerana pekara sama. Terpulanglah kepada pemimpin BN samada untuk membuat ikhtibar melawan arus sekarang juga supaya tidak dihanyutkan kelak nanti.

Mampukah GST ditarik balik oleh kerajaan Pakatan Harapan?

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Persoalaan cepu emas ialah samada cukai GST ini boleh ditarik balik seperti mana yang termaktub didalam manifesto gabungan Pakatan Harapan ataupun ianya sekadar ‘janji dicapati’ .

Seperti mana yang dihuraikan oleh Perdana Menteri sendiri, pungutan GST pada tahun 2017 melebehi RM 40 billion.  GST ini berbeza dengan cukai lain kerana ianya umpama pukat tunda yang tidak mengenal mangsa. Mereka yang mendirikan keluarga yang lebih besar, yang rata-rata terdiri dari orang Melayu terpaksa membayar cukai GST yang lebih tinggi oleh kerana ianya cukai berdasarkan penggunaan.  Disamping itu, kenaikkan kos harga barang dan pengucupan nilai matawang ringgit, sementara gaji rakyat Malaysia tidak banyak berubah umpama peribahasa “sudah jatuh ditimpa tangga.”

Pandangan The Rembau Times ialah cukai GST ini beban BN yang terpaksa ditanggung oleh masyarakat oleh kerana tidak celik ketika membuang undi pada PRU 13. The Rembau Times percaya cukai GST ini mampu dimansuhkan dalam 100 hari pertama kerajaan pimpinan Pakatan Harapan yang diterajui oleh Tun Dr Mahathir sepertimana yang dihuruaikan dibawah ini.

  1. Kerajaan pimimpinan Tun Dr Mahathir kerajaan yang mesra rakyat walaupun berdepan dengan pelbagai cabaran

Pekara pokok ialah prestasi kepimpinan yang bakal ditentukan pada PRU 14.  Berbeza dengan kerajaan pimpinan Dato Sri Najib, kerajaan yang dipimpin oleh Tun Dr Mahathir tidak pernah mengenakan cukai yang bakal membebankan rakyat, khususnya orang Melayu. Di samping itu, kerajaan yang dipimpin Tun Dr Mahathir tidak takut melakukan pendiriaan yang berbeza dengan pandangan ortodoks ekonomis demi melindungi  kepentingan rakyat. Ini jelas terbukti didalam zaman kegawataan ekonomi pada tahun 1998, dimana Tun Dr Mahathir berani menepikan pendekataan World Bank / IMF dan menurukan kadar faedah disamping mengenakan kawalan modal untuk meringankan beban rakyat.

Pada keitika itu, negara berdepan dengan cabaran ekonomi yang luar biasa dan ramai yang meramalkan tanahair akan menjadi padang jarak, padang terkukur oleh kerana Tun sanggup menentang imperialis dari New York dan London.  Namun, pendekatan Tun Dr Mahathir itu akhirnya diterima oleh Bank Dunia sebagai pendekataan yang amat berkesan dan menjadi pemangkin kepada pemulihan ekonomi pada tahun 1999 – 2000.

  1. Kerajaan Pakatan Harapan pimpinan Tun Dr Mahathir tidak akan berboros dan pandai mengawal bajet

The Rembau Times menganggap kerajaan kepimpinan Dato Seri Najib terlalu berboros dan tidak pandai mengawal bajet. Contohnya, pada 2011 pungutan hasil kerajaan hanya RM 186 billion sementara pada tahun 2017, pungutan hasil kerajaan sudah hampir mencecah RM 220 billion dengan adanya GST. Namun, beban hutang kerajaan pada waktu itu hanya RM 456 billion berbanding dengan RM 686 billion pada akhir 2017.

Kemana hilangnya RM 230 billion ini sementara kerajaan mampu memperolehi pungutan hasil tambahan sebanyak RM 40 billion setahun?

Kami di The Rembau Times masih tertanya-tanya.

Lebihan hasil RM 40 billion setahun itulah cukai GST yang bakal dikembalikan kepada rakyat jikalau ada perubahan diperingkat kerajaan.

  1. Nilai matawang Ringgit akan bertambah kukuh

Kenaikkan kos harga barang bukannya disebabkan oleh pengenaan cukai GST tetapi juga disebabkan oleh keruntuhan nilai matawang Ringgit dipasaran antarabangsa. Jikalau nilai matawang Ringgit bertambah kukuh, maka kuasa membeli rakyat juga akan mengembang dan kos impot barang mentah akan turun.

Pekara utama yang menyebabkan pengucupan nilai matawang Ringgit berbanding Dollar Amerika Syarikat oleh kerana keyakinan pelabur asing telah tergugat disebabkan oleh pelbagai berita negatif disebabkan oleh 1MDB yang telah menyebabkan negara kita ini dicam sebagai ‘negara kleptokrasi’.  Jikalau adanya perubahan dipucuk pimpinan, maka pelabur asing akan bertambah yakin bahawa negara ini bukannya negara kleptokrat dan akan meletakkan harga yang lebih tinggi kepada matawang kita ini.

Maka ini sebahagaian dari pandangan The Rembau Times.  Meskipun kami percaya asas ekonomi negara kita ini kukuh oleh kerana berkat titik peluh rakyat negara ini yang sanggup menghadapi pelbagai cabaran, namun kita masih berdepan dengan pelbagai cabaran disebabkan oleh kerana kita dikuasai oleh kerajaan kleptokrasi. Kami menggesa rakyat di negara ini membuat peniliaiaan yang terperinci  sebelum sanggup dirinya dikongkong  oleh golongan-golongan tertentu untuk terus berkuasa.