Monthly Archives: February 2014

AUSTRALIA’S CAR INDUSTRY

Today the Australia’s car industry is practically dead. The planned exit by Toyota from the country has hit the final nail in the coffin of Australia’s car industry. Prior to their demise, Ford and Holden (Australia’s car manufacturer) have also stopped from making cars. This is despite more than USD 1.2 billion financial aid from the Australia’s government.

For those who understands very well the impact of automotive industry towards country’s economy will surely know thousands of jobs would be affected. Beyond that,  USD21 billion will be wiped out from the economy and most likely the country will go into recession.

Well, what happened and what can we learn?

Due to the strong Australian dollar and high costs of manufacturing, the Australian products are not competitive even in Australia. Together with Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Australia is one of the most open  automotive markets in the world and this further aggravate the situation as  foreign goods (cars) flood the Australian market without Australian goods penetrating foreign markets. Ultimately, this leads to outflow of funds, contributing to deficits.

Malaysia is no less different than Australia. We too have our own national car in a highly competitive automotive industry. Attempts to denigrate Malaysia’s national car, Proton reflect how shallow some Malaysians are from what the Proton represented and what was its real objective.

Firstly, it must be pointed out that Proton is our launchpad in acquiring engineering knowhow and consequently propelling nation to a developed industrialised country.

However in the name of liberalisation and the obsession of making foreign cars cheaper, we need to ask ourselves whether do we want to preserve our automotive industry that employs more than 550,000 workers and contributing nearly RM30 Billion to country’s GDP or do we want to open up our tiny market to cheaper foreign cars so that our consumer could have more choice?

Some may argue we can close down Proton and do the Thailand and Indonesia’s way. Yes, we can. But being a mere a assembler won’t make us a developed country. Just look at these countries- were they developed?

In fact, we can’t compete with them simply because our cost of labour is higher. Or are we suggesting we pay our workers a pittance? Then, we can kiss goodbye to a high income economy.

What happened in Australia is an interesting case study. When we liberalise our market too much, the shrinking market for local cars may result in the cessation of production locally. Thousands of jobs generated by the national car industry will be lost. Not only we lose much of our engineering capability, we can’t create more high income jobs as engineering-based industries cannot fund skilled workers. Then, expect more serious brain-drain problem.

Buying cheaper foreign cars must result in outflow of funds. As a trading nation, we must balance our export and import sheet. Australia is lucky to have large reserve of  iron ore to export to China. But for how long Malaysia can rely on Petronas’ money to offset the deficit caused by our import? Already we have to rationalise subsidies in order to reduce our deficit.

Admittedly Malaysians pay more for their car. But the high car prices is not without justification. It may be old-fashioned to say this but that’s the price we have to pay for our country to be developed, to be well-equipped with technology, to be a trading powerhouse, to be industrialised, to produce highly skilled workers and to reduce country’s deficit.

United States of America knows this very well. That’s why they spent RM150 billion to bail out General Motors (GM). Not because they are anti free market but market is not ‘really free’ when you have your own product.

Korea and Japan take half of century or three generations to be at where they are today. Proton needs some protection but it will be removed gradually.

Hopefully we may not ended up like Australia, UK and Detroit.

MatRodi

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A STRONGER UMNO, WEAKER BN?

It seems whatever goes wrong in the country, the blame must be put on UMNO. While it is a normal practice for UMNO to be the whipping boy of opposition parties, the action by BN’s component parties particularly MCA in directing their vitrol at UMNO is unwarranted, if not lack of partisanship.

The latest come from their former president, Dr Chua Soi Lek- arguably the most under performing president in MCA history. His remarks that UMNO, under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir has made its coalition partners to become powerless in BN. In short, a stronger UMNO has to be blamed for the MCA’s dismal performance during the last general election.

Not only he has faulted Tun Dr M for overbearing UMNO, the much maligned New Economic Policy (NEP) was seen as a reason why the Chinese community has deserted MCA. Obviously his remarks require closer scrutiny.

Firstly, a strong UMNO will not make a strong BN nor a weak BN. A united Barisan Nasional is. 21 years as a BN Chairman, Tun Dr Maahthir has successfully ensured a united coalition thus resulting not only a strong UMNO , but the politically-strong component parties as well. If a stronger UMNO means a weaker BN, can Dr Chua explains why the best election performance for MCA in BN was during Tun Dr M’s leadership? In 1982, MCA won 15.5% from the total seats. In 1995, it was 15.6%, and 1999 (14.5%). Later, in 2004 election where UMNO at its best, MCA obtained 31 seats- the highest ever.

Unless the calculation is wrong, maybe Dr Chua can shed some light on this matter. But remember, number don’t lie.

Secondly, it is sad to see Dr Chua is no different than Lim Kit Siang in condemning NEP. His assertion that NEP has caused the Chinese losing faith in the Government is contradicted to himself. He acknowledged for the past 4 years the Government has been pushing for the liberalisation of economic policies.

The question is, why the Chinese community still not supporting BN in particular MCA despite of we are moving towards the NEP-free economy?

The truth is, it’s not about a strong UMNO or not. The fact remains, the DAP dangled before the Chinese the possibility of political power could be wrested from the BN and the opposition would form the next Government.

If leadership is defined by accountability then surely the president of component parties should be blamed for not doing enough to convince his party members about power sharing concept between parties. Instead, he shared the same belief with his opponent to blame MCA’s longest partner (UMNO) and their common economic policy (NEP).

If the leader is lack of partisanship, what more can we expect from its member. No wonder under Dr Chua’s leadership, the MCA has won only 3% of the total seats. It must be due to many non-Malay supporters of the BN component parties withdrawing their support to BN.

Actually a stronger UMNO is good for BN. Prior to 2008 election, undeniably there is more harmony and unity in BN coalition than there is in most unitary parties in Malaysia. There can be no denying that the strength of the UMNO plays a major role in keeping the BN parties together. A weak UMNO would not have succeeded in attracting partners. If UMNO has only one partner, defection by the partner would bring the UMNO-led government down. But there are many partners and defection by any one partner would not affect the BN’s majority. This defer parties from defecting as their joining to Opposition would not give the latter a majority to form a government.

This explains why there was a tacit acceptance that UMNO was first among equals. It’s not about Malays dominant, rather it is a factor that brings stability and continuity to the coalition.

The new MCA leadership should understand this very well. Blaming UMNO would not bring support for them. It would be better if they start convincing their own supporters about the concept of power sharing between the UMNO and component parties.

Kajang by-election could be their starting point.

MCA

MCA General Election Performance

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JDT DAN INDUSTRI BOLA SEPAK NEGARA

1. Kita semua tahu bagaimana pasukan bola sepak Johor telah berubah daripada pasukan biasa kepada antara kuasa bola sepak di Malaysia.

2. Bukan sekadar mengubah nama, JDT dibarisi pemain-pemain kebangsaan. Servis pemain import berkelas A juga digunakan untuk menguatkan pasukan. Antaranya Pablo Aimar- bekas pemain kebangsaan Argentina.

3. Tidak cukup dengan itu, pengurus pasukan sehinggalah staf JDT terdiri daripada tenaga luar.

4. Stadium Tan Sri Hassan Yunos dinaik taraf bertepatan dengan standard antarabangsa. Kualiti padangnya antara yang terbaik di negara. Tahap kecerahan lampu limpah di stadium adalah 1200 lux- melebihi 1000 lux seperti ditetapkan FAM.

5. Selain mengenalkan konsep ‘season pass’, JDT juga antara terawal yang bakal mempunyai JDT TV.

6. Seperti TRW dan Selangor, kini JDT mempunyai penyokong setianya sendiri. ‘Rivalry’ di antara JDT-TRW pula antara perlawanan yang dinanti-nantikan.

7. Mungkin pengkritik akan berkata ini semua boleh dibuat kerana JDT ada banyak duit. Tetapi duit sahaja tidak akan menjadikan sebuah pasukan bola sepak itu tersusun dan berjaya. Bagaimana duit itu digunakan adalah lebih penting.

8. FAM sudah berpuluh tahun mempunyai banyak duit. Beberapa pasukan bola sepak juga kaya. Tetapi sehingga ke hari ini jualan tiket masih secara manual. Kualiti padang pula sering menjadi isu.

9. Apa yang dilakukan oleh JDT dari segi pengurusan perlu dipelajari oleh pasukan bola sepak yang lain. Pasukan bola sepak, sekiranya betul-betuk diurus boleh dijadikan sebagai sumber pendapatan.

10. Bukan sahaja hasil jualan tiket, malahan jualan barangan rasmi pasukan, penajaan jersi, hak siaran perlawanan dan iklan di tepi padang mampu memberi pulangan yang lumayan. Ini tidak dicampur dengan industri hiliran seperti gerai-gerai makan yang menayangkan perlawanan bola ‘live’, lawatan ke stadium seperti ke bilik persalinan pemain dan sebagainya.

11. Untuk permulaan, pelaburan yang dibuat sememangnya menelan kos yang tinggi. Kerajaan negeri mungkin tidak begitu berminat membelanjakan wang sebegitu banyak hanya untuk pasukan bola sepak. Oleh itu, kerajaan pusat boleh menyediakan geran atau ‘soft loan’ kepada pasukan pasukan ini.

12. Syarikat-syarikat korporat atau ahli perniagaan perlu diajak melabur. Mesti ada sebilangan yang berminat kerana bola sepak adalah sukan kegemaran ramai. Apatah lagi prospek menjadi sebahagian daripada pembangunan pasukan bola sepak di negeri/kawasan sendiri.

13. FAM perlu memberi kelonggaran dalam hal ini. Jangan hadkan pemilikan pasukan bola sepak kepada kerajaan negeri dan kerabat diraja.

14. Di United Kingdom, bola sepak adalah satu industri yang bernilai billion ringgit. Daripada pemain, hinggalah ke kelab serta media- semuanya dibayar dengan lumayan. Malaysia, dalam ingin menjadi sebuah negara yang berpendapatan tinggi haruslah menceburi industri ini. Apatah lagi seperti UK, kita adalah negara yang gilakan bola sepak. Dan perkara ini perlu dieksploitasi sebaik mungkin.

15. Apa yang dilakukan oleh JDT dalam menjadikan sukan bola sepak menarik haruslah dipuji. Ia adalah langkah yang tepat. Malah usaha pasukan TRW juga.

16. Sebelum apa-apa, saya adalah penyokong Selangor.

MatRodi

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