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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Idris Jala Show


I am tired of this overused excuse by anyone telling everyone that Idris Jala is not a politician. So? That caveat is supposed to confer on Idris Jala some sort of extraordinary quality that sets him apart from the thieving politicians? Or worse, to provide Idris Jala an immunity for his next faux pas?
My blood pressure goes up a few notches when I can already see some sycophantic writers and bloggers sing like drunk canaries waxing lyrical over the latest government initiatives in perking up the economy. Something like Johan Jaafar, who is now somewhere up in Media Prima, years ago who looked at Anwar's speeches and rendering of the Budget as something revolutionary. So too, people will see the current PM, in terms of dishing out projects greater and grander than previous PMs, will be regarded as most revolutionary.
Some people do indeed get wet dreams watching PowerPoint presentations. But then, maybe I shouldn't be too harsh over the many guests at the Idrs Jala show. I guess many of them are government civil servants and I pity them, if Idris Jala and his other co presenters spoke in English. I hope no one asks for a glass of cock, I mean coke.
But these are the people( civil servants and wage earners) who, in the scheme of Jala's things, are the vanguard to turbo drive our economy to trillion level GNI and thus make us have a per capita income of USD 15,000. Hurrah!.
What do we see as the driving catalysts for our economic transformation? A huge casino in Sabah. Maybe that's because there so many rich people in Sabah. Then, mostly real estate projects- new KL city, Sungai Besi land, MRT etc. these will be cash cows for the private sector. The oil and gas industry, biotechnology etc.
Maybe I have been an outsider in the economics profession for so long so as not to appreciate that investments in real estate are the driving force of the economy. Maybe I am old school still believing that the driver for economic growth will be our productive capacity, our competitiveness, our competencies and hard work.
But Idris Jala and his co drivers have succeeded in enthralling the PM and his economics-challenged leaders with grandiose plans involving billion Ringgit MRT, beautifying the KL city, cleaning up the river, constructing a bullet train linking Guan Eng's Country, through Putrajaya to Kuan Yew's Singapore. It's all the property bubble baby which sooner or later will burst.
Of course the businessmen in attendance are already salivating when its stated that private sector will provide the impetus. Heck, I too can do all the highways and MRT's if I am given soft loan from the EPF. See the road in front of Mid Valley? It's all EPF's money.
Just you wait, apply some pressure and I am sure, the PM says, all these are still at laboratory stage affirming the moniker of the PM that is fast gaining popularity- Najib TPM, Najib Tak Pernah MUktamad.
Don't care if you are or are not a politician. That does not excuse anyone from suffocating us with stupidity and banalities.
I thought sometime ago, this was the same fellow who warned Malaysians if they don't buck up, this country will go bankrupt. How will it go bankrupt? If we carry on spending like nobody's business such as spending indiscriminately on welfare and subsidies and so forth. In short it means any spending on unproductive enterprise or spending on welfare beneficiaries is leading this country to bankruptcy.
Now, if we go along this line of argument, accepting it as general rule that the biggest recipient of benefits in our country are the Malays, then the policies that could bring down this country, are the NEPish policies. Might as well if Jala had said, that our country will be bankrupt if we follow Malay centric affirmative policies. We must spend wisely only on productive and competitive agents.
Why can't Najib go to the people to say, look we can't operate on current policies. If we do, we will become this and this. We want to implement new economics. This is what people must do and Malays must do. We keep a look out for the poor and the infirmed and less endowed. The way out is for Malays to become more competent, more productive. We will help out these economic agents. Malays have nothing to fear. We are still the majority in this country. we have our constitution and we have our historical validation. Give something back to the Malays who feel far too much  has been taken from them.
The problem as I have said in many articles, Najib hasn't communicated well to the masses. He has only spoken to the banquet RSVP  room crowd  full of smoked salmon socialites.
Can the slew of high profile projects, be the answer in raising our competitiveness and productivity? Spending on unproductive enterprise yield no return and represent leakages to the economy . But equally so is reckless spending, spending not based on fundamentals.
Everyone is euphoric over the announcement of the same minister now. we are now suffocated with all sorts of grandiose ideas that- wait a second, not call for prudent and disciplined spending, but spending without a care in the world. Where is the money coming from?
We are inundated with all sort of ideas coming out from labs. How does it all fit together? As it stands, there is now the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs), the National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs),  the New Economic Model (NEM), and the Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs), leading to concerns that the various initiatives risk becoming a confusing rojak of acronyms.
Are we addressing the quality and needs based educational requirements? Is our education system ready to supply the 3.3 million competent and knowledgeable workers to fill the jobs that have been PROJECTED to be created by the EPPs and BOs?
Maybe Perkasa should look into this. The core element of the NEM and the ETP is to make the private sector the main driving force of the economy. Funds of USD444 billion will be required for the EPPs and BOs, 92 per cent of which is targeted to come from the private sector including GLCs. Do the GLCs have the money and will the Private sector be enticed to spend?
They will I think if cheap funds are available. Right now the cheapest and easiest source of soft loans is the EPF. That's our money. So, we tell Jala, just as spending on the things he mentioned can bankrupt this country, reckless application of OUR money can also do the job even more devastatingly.


Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 09:14  


Does roti jala go well with cock?
And isn't MAS going under? Looks like
this fellow is leaving a trail of shit.


Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 09:46  

Jala bashing again?

When he had 'temporary' transformed the bankrupting MAS into profitability, he is termed an asset stripper to mark the black ink.

When he had summarized the dire economic projection for the country, with the HELPS of the various lab participants, he is a doomsayer.

Now when he is providing a list of 'initiatives' to propel the country to the 'possible' next level, thus bypassing the doomed scenario as described earlier, he is a two-face, tongue twister!

What do u people wants?

Can anyone of u do BETTER - better as in topping the ideas that Jala has gathered & presented as they r?

Head u win, tail I lose?

Perhaps, deep down, race is still the issue. Somehow u people just cant take it when positive results, good ideas r been coming out from the Others, right from under yr noses. Yes?

So now, MAS is bleeding again. Like anon stewardess mentioned - this was the trail of shit left behind by Jala. Or was it bcoz the successor is NOT measuring up on the good bases Jala has built?

U people, sigh...sigh..tsk...tsk - better keeping thinking that what bring u to this stage of SOPO-economical developments r ALL due to faults of the Others.


Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 09:51  

Assumptions is the key.

And Idris Jala does not have a good track record in gauging the future.

Is PM aware of the hedging losses at MAS?Its the single biggest "mistake" in recent corporate history.

Unlike previous debacles,where there is a short term discounting of values..which still have potential upside as economy recovers or have the basic recoverable intrinsic value (see Renong )..this MAS loss is REAL MONEY gone forever.

So,why trust the guy?>

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 10:09  

Dato. Jala and Najib need to be kicked out and both are useless.
One guy always tak muktamad and the other one is talking cock!
Gila ka spending trillion and then hand over the nation to the future generation and you and I hide somewhere but not before these too being booted out.
Pm ni betul kena jala.....

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 10:17  

How will all these benefit the rural folks who kais pagi makan pagi?
Will their GNI be also be as big as yours?
In any case the private sector is surely not going to use its own money unless the govt dishes out soft loans and guaranteed profits.
Every Ah Chong, Ahmad and Samy will be fighting to join BN to get a piece of this pie in the sky.

Education and Health isn't important at all. sigh.

OneMalaysian,  22 September 2010 at 10:46  

Dear Sakmongkol

I, too, have a great deal of doubt about the achievability of the Gross National Income target. Now the aim is to increase our per capita income from RM23700 in 2009 to RM48,000 in 2020. That means increasing GNI from RM663.6 billion in 2009 (population 28 million) to RM1728.0 billion in 2020 (population projected to be 36 million). This requires the GNI to grow by a compound rate of 10% p.a. over 10 years. This year our growth rate is only about 6-7%, so it implies that we must grow a bit faster than 10% over the next 9 years. Like a car, the economy cannot zoom from 6% to 10+% straight away. It needs to accelerate as more and more investments are made (investments still low now), and that these investments have the capacity to add jobs and value to the economy.

Maybe my math is not very good, and I have got it all wrong. But to me, these kinds of growth targets are only found in Alice in Wonderland stories. Sure for 3 years or so in the late 1980s we did touch 9-10%, but only for a short 3 years or so, and it was not sustainable because they were driven by high infrastructure expenditure (through privatisation of large projects). Now the government is talking about 10 years of 10%, and this time it will be kick-started by large infrastructure spending (again)– KL MRT system, river cleaning, high speed rail to Singapore, etc. Well, I am not an economist, but infrastructure spending can kick-start the economy but to sustain it at high levels you need businesses (high value types) to grow and produce high paying jobs. The infrastructure bit is easy if cheap credit is available, but producing high value goods and services and having a ready and trained workforce is a different kettle of fish. We cannot produce such a workforce in short order. Furthermore, the current political atmosphere is such that capital is likely to flow out rather than flow in. I have not even discussed the quality of the civil service, its mentality, and corruption that can gum up the economy.

The NEM is about as likely to succeed as Vision 2020. We need a big dose of reality. Better if we set more realistic targets.

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 11:15  

When your total government debt is equal to GDP you have reached a dangerous level of public finance.At this level of debt you have no room to spend your way out of a financial cris. The US is now fonding this out. Their total government debt is as high as the GDP. That is why all that pump priming has not reulted in the increase in job creation.

Finally, I am not an economist. Nations do not talk about reaching a High Income Nation Status. That is puting the cart before the horse.First you have to talk about doubling your GDP every 15 years or there. It is only on the back of productivity does Per Capita income go up. How do you think Sir Harry Lee managed to take his country from a Per Capita income S400.00 in 1966 to S44,000.00 today.

The other way of doing is to print unsecured cash like what Mugabe did. I do not have to take up space here to tell you where that country is today.
In Malaysia the private sector has benifitted from fat contracts. And these people have the gall to tell government to get out of Business. If that happens all those privatised projects will be stripped off thir assets and only empty companies will be left. We have reached a stage where if government gets out of the business the economy will look more like the economies of many Third World countries.

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 11:15  

Anon 10:46,
I do agree with you. Rather than these grandiose plans, let start with the existing pushing forward the existing Corriodors which are now collecting dusts. Where are we leading the nation to.
The high income will lead to high cost of living which may not be covered by the high income. These will attract more immigrants. Are our IMM Dept ready for the influxs.

Lets start small with relieving the KLites from the traffic jams from and to workplace. This can reduce cost and make us more efficient and give us quality of life. The existing Komuuter, LRT and Putra is jam pack during peak hours..Let solve these issue rather than those big ideas.

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 11:20  

This is Malaysia.

Everyday talk "cock and bull" stories to get feel good feelings.

Reality sulks.

Okay let us build a lot of infrastructures, pump in money (from where we still do not know), create jobs with high pay and pressto we get high income.

What happens when infrastructure projects finishes and needs lots and lots of money to maintain ... like servicing, salaries, etc? Where is the money coming from ? Aiya oil, palm trees and rubber trees?

Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore , Korea each has its own powerful sets of industrial high income producing specialities. They build infrastructures ONLY when the need arises.

Here we build, build and build even without the traffic and assume "traffic".

When traffic does not come? Habis lah another white elephants. By then how about those who were high income "real estate" constructors? They would be jobless and nation with even higher taxes to cover the cost of past capital(most of course inflated 3 times lots for cronies), maintenance.

Where are the income generating industries other than palm oil and soon to dry crude oil?

EPF is about the last corporation with money left. And even this they want to "gasak"

Cheers.... Idris Jala. Go spend our pension money away to generate temporary high income country before we then go the way of Greece or Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, local talents( and capital) are still going. What actions have been taken to stop these?

So you want to dream about "high income " industry working for real estate projects like TDM did (He even wanted to build a bridge to Indonesia! Ground breaking ceremony initiated. What fools)... until financial crisis struck when foreign money suddenly left.

He thought those money belonged to him/Malaysia when he saw how much cash we had then (before the crisis) and blamed George Soros for many us poor. The money did not belong to us in the first place!

We are still committing the same old mistakes. Only this time, the local Chinese business commmunity which had/has an economy within an economy is no more that strong... third class by today's standards.

No goog local business class and no foreign FDIs when neighbours are more peaceful and no NEP, how is the target going to be achieved?

This time, no more second chance.

This time, we go down we really go down. The exodus will accelerate.

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 11:47  


Berita cakap 50,000 org attended Najib open house in Pekan. Betul ke? Kalau RM30 satu kepala x 50,000 = RM1.5 juta. Wah banyaknya, sekali jamuan RM1.5 juta. Najib bayar ke? UMNO bayar ke? Kerajaan bayar ke? Atau kroni bayar? kalau di belanjakan untuk membantu orang susah bukan ke lagi elok?

Sideline,  22 September 2010 at 13:05  


When the govt talk about increasing the income per capita to USD15000, they talk about the average income divided by total population. That doesn't mean the average folks will enjoy the benefits. Perhaps only employment. And disparity between the rich and poor will be greater and diminishing of middle income folks.

As far as the economic plan, it sounded it favour the big corporations to drive ETP. Isn't it better for the government to focus on small and medium businesses to strive instead of giving the tongkat to already rich and successful company. In my humble opinion that would make more meaningful increasing the capita income for the population.

In economy, no economists even the nobel laureate in economy can predict precisely economic scenario in the next 2-3 years none so in 10 years. We must me kidding ourselves if the world economy is an even playing level field for us to play. It just like thinking Malaysia is from Mars and the rest of the world from Venus. That will definitely recipe for disaster and our future generations will pay for our foolishness.

Quiet Despair,  22 September 2010 at 13:10  

Dear Jala bashers.
I beg to differ.
Najib has an able man in Jala to transform our economy.
I was at the ETP Open Day yesterday and I am impressed with Jala.
I hope he can be our future Finance Minister.
let's not be sceptial. Let's pray hard for our nation's success.
Jala is our safety fishing net!

dahserikngankeris 22 September 2010 at 17:18  


dato i told u to focus on speculation and inflation, and here it is, the modus operandi of the banks has been revealed....ku li said something about project perumahan negara gergasi, ie homes for everyone at cheap and affordable prices, u kill two birds with one stone if and when it is applied u get cheap homes and strong banks...simple and effective, here under the ETP u have speculated prices on land and resources, and inevitably the banks or financial sources are gonna get FFFFed!

so i implore u as an economist to highlight the issues pretaining to our financial system, speculative in nature and aimed to kill off the middle class....sideline the poor and make the rich even richer

sub prime is the order of the day, i dont understand y the would be globalist in our country dont see this, ohhhh probably they think their above the middle and lower classes, but if the banks go expect everything to tumble down like a huge house of cards....rm1 today might be just 5 cents in the not to distant future. ur 300k loan might just inflate to 1.5 mil.....1998 all over again, what the helllll?!?!?!?!?

OneMalaysian,  22 September 2010 at 18:00  

Dear Sakmongkol

Reading the comments on this blog and the ones posted on Malaysian Insider, there is very little understanding about this Economic Transformation Programme. This is a subject up your creek. Can you give us an economist's take on it - is it achievable or not achievable, realistic or illusionary and why?

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 18:58  

“So, we tell Jala, just as spending on the things he mentioned can bankrupt this country, reckless application of OUR money can also do the job even more devastatingly. “

GREAT REBUTTALS, Dato. Yes, Malaysians are being conned by the CON SULTAN again.

Read below for Jala’s track record and basic lesson on fuel hedging (before we embarrass ourselves further).

Little Bird

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 20:46  

to quiet despair
do you have a blog? would love to read why u think the Mr.Jala is the safety net.Kasi justifikasi lah bro.
Dato sak
Is it realistic and possible? Anything sustainable revealed?

Anonymous,  22 September 2010 at 22:32  

Idris is good guy in many aspects but he is also a master poltician. His enthusiasm is infectious and he is the right guy to boost spirits when the chips are down.

Many of his ideas are designed to impress the bosses. However they are not grounded in reality and trouble is he never stays long in a job. Once he has done his sales pitch, he will move on further up the ladder leaving a trail of dust for others to pick up. Not to forget the many people whose careers get destroyed because they get branded as BLOCKERS for questioning the rationale of his ideas.

Najib is not wise in entrusting the job of transforming the economy with Idris.

Habib RAK 22 September 2010 at 23:07  

Before embarking on all these up-in-the-sky projects, Nurul Izzah Anwar has correctly said that it requires The Political Reformation Plan or 'Political Contract' would include repealing all anti-democratic laws, respecting separation of powers, reforming national elections and restoring local government elections, returning the judiciary's and other state institution's independence, fighting corruption, ensuring a free media and by abiding to the true meaning of our constitution, then and only then, will the economic transformation plan become a resounding success for a Better Malaysia.

Anonymous,  23 September 2010 at 00:20  

Dear Sak,
Your reading of the various labs and their spin is spot-on! Please stay the course because the rakyat needs to read views from different perspective to make a judgement and not telan hook-line-& sinker what the gomen dishes out !
Best Wishes.

flyer168 23 September 2010 at 03:41  


Just to share this...

PM Najib’s Cronies and their Related Companies -

"Apr 03 2009 Everyone knows whenever there’s a change to the premiership not only political landscape changes but also the stock-market landscape. When Mahathir called it a day in 2003 almost immediately his cronies listed companies were affected. The same goes to Badawi although his departure doesn’t have the same impact due to his short-term in office.

And now with Najib Razak as the new Prime Minister naturally his cronies or rather those who are closely linked to him are instantly on investors or punters’ radar.

Malaysia politics and business model is rather unique because you will see both scratching each other for survival and prosperity.

This is something that foreign investors found rather hard though amuse to accept or understand, not to mention frustration due to escalating in business operating costs..." Unquote.

ETP – Wishful Thinking Against Reality Hidden from You -

"Sep 23 2010 Malaysia’s economy is set to skyrocket to a super-impressive level in just another 10-year, thanks to an economic road map involving investments of about US$444 billion (RM1.3 trillion) to power the country towards becoming a high income economy by 2020, provided you believe this is not another Mother of all Slogans gimmick to create feel-good factors before the next snap election.

Minister in PM Department and Pemandu CEO Idris Jala claimed the so-called ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) would triple the country’s GNI from RM660 billion to RM1.7 trillion.

It was definitely a blockbuster presentation by Idris with all the buzzwords such as ETP, GTP, NKEA, NKRA, SRI, NEM and whatnot thrown in..." Unquote.

Another "Syok Sendiri Pre Election Exercise"

Eat your heart out "Sheeple!"

You be the judge.


Anonymous,  23 September 2010 at 11:29  

Careful friends..

If you criticise the ETP you can be deemed to be anti Govt. and part of the group inciting unrest.

The Govt will not hesitate to take action against people who use the net/social media to incite hatred against the govt.

You must understand that the ETP is a DEMOCRATIC process i.e developed by the rakyat and endorsed by the rakyat at the Open Day.The overwhelming support given by the rakyat at the Open Day is CLEAR vindication of the GOVT open & transparent governance.

So,if you criticise the ETP you are in truth criticising the rakyat.

Please be smarter

Anonymous,  8 October 2010 at 11:56  

Dear anon 23 Sept 2010 11.29

pls dont tell dato sak to be careful in his criticsm because he is REALLY hitting the crux of the matter.

I was invited to joint the bloody stupid workshop which btw the govt was being billed for RM50 million by the American Consulting group called McKinsey.

I went in and stayed for only 20 minutes and decided to leave because as far I was concerned it was a done deal to appease the rich n powerful and to 'show ' govt is 'doing something'

the young chikus the hired to be coordinators have not done their analysis and came out with budget of billion and collectively became trillion and I had only asked one question. Where is the $$$$ coming from? Everybody when silent on me and that is why I choose to walk out.

Sure enuf....the crap has been put on display....So goo figure....want to go deficit way again? Until when? Idris Jala being ex CEO is as political as you can get. If not how you think they survive if they dont kiss asses in GLCs?

Go away! Enough said. Duduk wirid atas sejadah lagi bagus!

Keturunan Jebat

Anonymous,  11 October 2010 at 22:49  


We are doing the same thing with our economy....

That is why I was so angry when I did not see anything to help the SME n SMI in the Idris Jala ETP Show.

Keturunan Jebat

Anonymous,  8 November 2011 at 17:21  

Dato' Sak & all,

First and foremost, we need to have a target. It should be specific, measurable and bla bla bla.

Second, you work it out.

If you're skeptical, I think it's acceptable because we're not reaching it, yet. Even if it's proven that we will not reach it, we can zoom in here and there to find 'why' and make some adjustments here and there.

The mechanism is formulate a plan, implement it and get feedback.

1) How to formulate a plan? Make the lab so that everyone relevant can provide input. If you're being assigned to estimate the output, why the heck you questioned about the input? Unless you're in a wrong crowd or you think you're Idris Jala - the one who monitors both input and output.

2) How to implement? Every 6 months reviews for ministers for example. For Idris, everyone will have to update him every week.

3) How about feedback? Once the weekly data is on hand, you can make analysis and probably change anything that you think may improve the plan.

Yes, if Idris sets wrong and unrealistic targets, do rebut with facts and figures. After all, if you walk out from the lab (Where your input CAN CHANGE something) assuming that you should be Idris, and then blame Idris, just keep quiet.

There's only one captain in one ship. Dato' Sak maybe good in his term, but you have had your chances.

Now, give me good rebuttal please. All ETP/GTP data are out there for you to bash on.


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