Sunday, 28 November 2010
In 1977, I was an undergraduate at UM. In one session of the GED- Great Economic Debate later termed Debat Ekonomi Agung, one of the speakers was Lim Kit Siang. I haven't been to UM for a long time, so I wouldn't know whether there is still the GED sponsored by the FEA.
Somebody from the floor asked him a question concerning Chinese economic predominance in Malaysia. The other speakers were the late Dato Asri and the other one was Dr. Ganapathy ( I can't tell whether this name is correct) I think from UMBC.
His answer was the standard stock in his trade. Yes he said- the Chinese dominate the economy, but who allowed this state of affairs to exist? In other words, he places the blame on the Malay leadership. Malays just can't win.
Today almost 50 years later, the same standard response persists. This state of affairs is the result of those in power (mostly Malays) giving Chinese hongs the opportunities. But there's the added twist. In the hands on these people, so claimed the triumphalist, they can become more competitive etc. The Chinese triumphalist is so over sensitive when criticized.
You are wrong. If YTL is headed by an UMNO feller, I would still write the same way I did. I did so when I wrote about Syabas. I did the same when writing about the construction of the 100 story building. It doesn't matter to me if the 2-3% within the 65% group did the decision making. It was wrong and unjust.
I spoke to a very senior former UMNO minister on a certain subject. I was complaining the ease by which GLCs such as MRCB and UEM buy into non Malay owned property companies under the pretext of achieving economies of scale etc. these are fairly textbook explanations as to why they are doing it. That's bull. Here at this website we have dedicated ourselves at exposing all bulls.
One of the remarks which the former very senior Minister said- the unfortunate truth is that it is the Malays in power who are destroying us. The government didn't bat an eyelid when they went on to save The Mines and Tycoon Lim Kim Siew, the Lion Group and any other Chinese owned business entities. But they threw in all sorts of spanners preventing people like Halim Saad from exercising his put option. Nor Mohamad Yaakob the man who blew away lots of our money in the FOREX market was instrumental in blocking the put option.
What's wrong with those Malays in power? Maybe they have forgotten to be Malays. I see the same futility and hopelessness in the formation of Equinas. In order to help Malays, the Equinas executives have to relearn what it means to be Malays. The main problem with these people is that, having accomplished their stations, they talked themselves into believing, they got there entirely on meritorious grounds. As a result, they expect the other Malays at large to proceed through the same route as they did. They have to get rid of this pompous self-righteousness first.
Look at what is happening to the communications industry. It was once dominated by Telekom Malaysia. Celcom was shaved off and resold time and time again. Other operators applied for cellular license only to flip deals here and there. The Communications Industry it seems is the new battlefield where privileged combatants get to flip deals.
There is some uneasiness in the way MCMC does its job. To achieve a certain level of broad band penetration, we have to give out 1 million laptops. Voila, somebody got to supply the 1 million laptops. In order to be ahead in the market we need the LTE- Long Term Evolution framework in which the 700 MHz spectrum is an integral ingredient. Voila, somebody gets the 700 MHz spectrum.
SPRM or MACC the commission charged eradication corruption should be sending in their troops to study the various cartels like machinations now.
The MACC should also now set its sights on the possible shadowy practices and decision making regarding the award of a monopoly on the 700 MHz spectrum to YTL Communications. Effectively they are giving a head start to YTL for 5 years. The public isn't aware of this goings on and the 4 TELCOS in Malaysia were caught holding nothing but their shrinking testicles.
Sure everyone has to have a national regulating agency. USA has its FCC and Malaysia has our MCMC. Maybe we should be investigating how the decision to award the rights to operate the spectrum is given to YTL only. Sorry but we can't be made to believe that it will be used to offer pay for view TV programs.
Then why the yahooed launching of YES recently offering the cheapest rate for mobile telecom services if there isn't a plan in the future to tap into the spectrum? Sorry YTL, gua takda caya sama lu.
Let us learn from the American experience. Look at what Google did. Even if it did so because of enlightened self-interest. Prior to the bidding process, Google asked that the spectrum be free to lease wholesale and the devices operating under the spectrum be open. Currently many providers such as Verizon and AT&T use technological measures to block external applications.
In return Google guaranteed a minimum bid of $4.6 billion. What has YTL guaranteed the government?
What did the FCC do? The FCC ruled in favor of Google's requests. Only two of the four requirements were put in place. Google had wanted the purchaser to allow 'rental' of the blocks to different providers.
The spectrum, currently owned by broadcasters, has been used for analog television. But it is set to be turned over to the government. Due to its broadcast-attractive physics (like its ability to penetrate walls), this spectrum is desirable for both broadband communications in general and public-safety uses in particular.
The FCC has described the 700 MHz as beachfront property, and has talked up the broadband capabilities of this spectrum swath. About 60 MHz of the former UHF (TV) spectrum is going to be reclaimed by the U.S. government and will be reallocated for public safety and commercial broadband networks.
Without access to the (700MHz) spectrum, the other TELCOs won't be able to expand. With this stranglehold, YTL can either shut out other telcos, or resell bandwidth to them. The other WIMAX provider is P1 but the new spectrum could give YTL total control over the next wave of new technologies in the telco sector.