Islamic Banking Part 1: Being an ease to the ummah.

10 09 2012

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

Assalamualaikum to all,

If Islamic banks cannot be an ease to the ummah, there’s no reason for its existence. If charging compounding interest is considered zalim (discriminatory), the act of filing a default for bankruptcy without helping the borrowers can be considered as zalim too. In Surah Al Baqarah verse 280, Allah swt reminded the lenders to give more time to borrowers who are having difficult times to make payments and even remit the loans as sadaqah (charity).

Surah Al Baqarah, verse 280:

Image

“If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time Till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.” (Translation by Yusuf Ali)
While I see Islamic banks/scholars are very critical about riba’ (usury) financing, they are not critically the same in this matter. A borrower being filed for bankruptcy will have difficulty in his/her life. Hence the Islamic banking system can be a real changer and different from the conventionals (so far the perception of Islamic banking as the “shadow” of the conventional banks has not abated) if it has its own unit of managing and helping borrowers who are having problems. This unit can help the troubled borrowers to restructure their loans and in some cases the loans can be remitted.  This is what I mean “being an ease to the ummah.” Of course not every non-performing loan can be qualified to be remitted. There must be a risk evaluation on this. But I am positive that it can give a good impact to the Islamic banking system, economy and ummah as a whole. Bear in mind that Islamic banking should not move away from one of the main Islamic values i.e. being just. If the system is discriminatory, then it’s not Islamic. This way, the Muslims and even non-Muslims know that they can depend on the Islamic banks when they are having difficult times. Islamic banks should not follow the predatory practices of the conventional banks when it comes to loan defaults.

Another aspect of Islamic banking that I would like to comment is the Syariah council (Islamic scholars hired by banks to oversee the compliance of financial products according to the Islamic law). In my humble opinion syariah council should not be paid by the bankers. I see this as a conflict of interest. I’m not implying that syariah councils hired by banks cannot be trusted. They are very knowledgable people in Syariah. But humans are humans. They should be hired by the regulators aka Bank Negara (the Central Bank) or become a free governing body. Any application for Islamic banking license or product must go through them. This will keep the system clean from fitnah and any wrong doings in the future, at the same time maintaining consistent practices.

In the future, I am praying that there will be Syariah councils which consists of people who are experts in both field of mathematical finance/banking and Syariah. Some colleges which are offering the Islamic banking/finance courses hopefully are having this in mind. Such council with two fields in mind can orchestrate the creation of new banking products and risk management system which would not be the “immitation” or mirror of the conventional banking system.

I am not against the Islamic banking system. I love that Islamic banking is free from speculating activities. Conventional banking system has become a paper money casino, which contribute to the instability of the current financial system. There are rooms for the Islamic banking system to improve.

In the end we must all know that this system is standing on a system that I considered non-Islamic – the fractional reserve banking system and paper money system. I do not know if Islamic banks can survive in a 100% reserve banking system (how much deposit you have is how much you lend). In the Quran, money is dinar & dirham. Gold & silver must be mined and cannot be manipulated like paper money (can be manipulated by debasing them, but in the past anyone who tried to debase them get a very serious penalty). Paper money is the mother of inflation. More and more money circulating in the economy means inflation. It erodes purchasing power. So in order to retain its purchasing power, savings must be given interest rates/profit returns. If not, money sitting in the banking system will lose its value as prices of goods & services rise due to inflation. Normally, no one would want to save. But in this era of low rates, people are not looking at rates anymore but putting money in a bank has become about convenience rather than seeking investment income. But until the faltering modern financial system goes, we have to operate within the system.

I am still learning and my opinions are solely mine. Allah swt knows best and may He show us the straight path. Please feel free to drop your comments below.

Jazakallah khair (May Allah grant you goodness).

Fadzli Fuzi





The Grexit

4 06 2012

Are we going to see a domino effect from the Greece exit?

What is the “Grexit”? It’s the inevitable Greece exit out of the Euro zone. Greece should have exited the European Union last year. But the politicians kow-tow to the demands of the EU leaders, its fascist European Central Bank and the mafia IMF. Now Greece is going to be abandoned like an unwanted child. Billions of Euros being shovelled and dumped on Greek banks did not have any effect on the country’s economy. I wonder who are these economics geniuses who think that a debt problem this huge can be solved with more debt.

But it’s a good thing that Greece exits EU. It will have its sovereignty back and the ability to shape & mold its own economic policy, tailored to the aspirations of the Greek people, rather than to the demands of the EU leaders. The most important of all is that Greece will have control over its currency again. M.A Rothschild famously said “Give me control over a nations currency, and I care not who makes its laws.” Very true, especially coming from someone whose lineage is full of currency controllers.

Some might be sceptical that Greece will not and will not be allowed to exit the Euro zone, but evidences show that wealthy individuals, financial institutions & corporations are channelling their money out to safer places. CNBC reported that wealthy savers in Greece & Spain have started to wire transfer their money to safer places such as Geneva, London & Frankfurt, which could lead to “wire-transfer bank run”. Law firms in London are advising honestly to their worrying clients that they should take their investments out of Greece and prepare to take a short term hit. Companies as big as GlaxoSmithKline said that they don’t leave any cash in Greece & most European countries.

But the real question is what will happen when Greece exits the Euro? I first say “Good luck Greece! Enjoy your new freedom!” (and enjoy it responsibly). To the rest of the Europe, the end has just started. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Ireland, etc are waiting in line to get the Euro “paper-toilet” money from ECB. Then they will realize that all debts they get from ECB are worthless in order to solve their problems, including the advices on austerity measures.

So then maybe all of the countries mentioned above will exit EU? That depends on whether their leaders are owned by the ECB & IMF. I will not reject altogether a surprise plan (maybe,there’s no evidence to this,but New World Order,remember?) to integrate all countries in the EU as one nation, with one currency. This might be a few years into the future after the exits of a few countries, especially when the countries exited realized that they cannot compete on their own unless they resort to something such as paying min wages like what China is doing (to keep cost down & remain competitive). Pure speculation of mine, but nevertheless something to ponder.

To this very moment, no one has been able to gauge how much the ripple effect the world will get from the Grexit. Looking into a dark hole where you cannot see the bottom is pretty scary. Europe is that bottomless pit now, and no one is willing to jump into it.





Kenapa saya tidak klik pada ‘Like’ di FB page ‘1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower’

25 10 2010

Dengan nama Allah Yang Maha Pemurah Lagi Maha Mengasihani.

Rasanya klik pada butang ‘Like’ di Facebook page ‘1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower’ lebih mudah daripada meneliti dan memahami apa isu yang sebenarnya. Mungkin juga ada salah kerajaan/PNB di sini sebab lambat memberikan penerangan mengenai projek tersebut. Tapi nak buat macam mana, ada yang kata rakyat sekarang dah pandai meneliti dan memahami situasi semasa. “Biar mereka buat pilihan, biar mereka buat ‘judgement’”.Harus diingat juga judgement dibuat berdasarkan maklumat. Untuk dapatkan judgement yang betul kena lah ada maklumat yg betul.

Dulu masa nak dibina Jambatan Pulau Pinang, Putrajaya dan KLCC ramai yang bising. Membazir duit rakyat, mengayakan kroni, dan macam-macam lagi label-label yang negatif (dan tak ada bukti). Tapi sekarang ni ada pulak yang berangan nak ‘menawan Putrajaya’. Bila hujung minggu dibawa juga keluarga ke KLCC kemudian bangga bila pelancong asing puji menara berkembar Petronas.

Seperti yang PNB umumkan, projek Menara Warisan tak akan gunakan duit kerajaan ataupun duit pelabur dana PNB. Pada hemat saya sudah tentulah PNB akan gunakan mekanisme financing yg lain. Saya ada ramai rakan-rakan yang bekerja di PNB. Mereka ini bukan calang-calang lulusan. Mereka anak-anak Melayu yang bijak pandai. Sudah tentu PNB sudah buat studies tentang projek tersebut. Projek RM 5 billion mana boleh hentam kromo atau main tenyeh atas kertas.

Jadi saya tak nampak masalahnya di sini. Ada yang kata “Kenapa tak buat rumah kos rendah untuk rakyat? Kalau dah banyak duit kenapa tak buat jalan-jalan di kampung, sambungkan elektrik atau air ke rumah penduduk?”

Saudara saudari, PNB adalah organisasi yang mengurus dana pelabur. Tugas pengurus dana yang paling utama ialah untuk bagi pulangan kepada pelabur. Jadi PNB hanya akan buat projek yang boleh mendatangkan keuntungan kepada pelabur. Projek yang ‘feasible’ kata orang. Projek rumah kos rendah, perbaiki jalan kampung, elektrik, air dll bukanlah projek yang boleh mendatangkan keuntungan bagi PNB. Projek-projek yang tidak boleh mendatangkan keuntungan kepada sektor swasta akan disediakan oleh kerajaan. Sebab itulah kemudahan, air, elektrik, jalanraya dll disediakan oleh kerajaan.

Dalam ekonomi, kemudahan untuk rakyat yang berisiko tinggi pulangannya dan susah nak dapat keuntungan dipanggil sebagai ‘public goods’. Contoh public goods ialah perkhidmatan bas, keretapi, LRT dan jalanraya. Ini disebabkan kemudahan tersebut memerlukan maintenance yang tinggi manakala tambang atau harga yang dicaj kepada pengguna tak boleh terlalu tinggi. Sebab itu kita lihat LRT dan KTMB hidup cukup-cukup makan sahaja. Disebabkan itu, projek-projek membina infrastruktur dibina dan ditanggung oleh kerajaan.

Seperti yang diumum dalam Bajet 2011, akan ada banyak projek infrastruktur atau prasarana untuk rakyat yang menggunakan konsep Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Ini bermaksud kerajaan akan tanggung sebahagian kos dan pelabur/swasta akan tanggung kos yang selebihnya (tak semestinya 50-50). Dengan cara ini kerajaan dapat kurangkan perbelanjaan dan hutang untuk membiayai kos projek selain menggalakkan dana pelabur masuk ke dalam negara dan kemudahan di urus dengan lebih cekap oleh pihak swasta. Sebagai contoh, projek MRT yang bakal dilaksanakan akan menggunakan konsep ini. Dana yang dapat dijimatkan daripada konsep ini boleh disalurkan kepada tujuan yang lain.

Kita juga tak boleh nafikan kesan ‘spill over’ daripada projek mega seperti ini. Apabila dana dibelanjakan untuk satu-satu projek yang berimpak tinggi, ramai yang akan dapat manfaatnya. Syarikat yang mendapat kontrak akan beri kepada sub-kontraktor. Pekerja-pekerja sub-kontraktor, firma arkitek, firma quantity survey, syarikat pengangkutan dan syarikat-syarikat yang bekalkan segala macam bahan mentah untuk projek akan dapat manfaat, termasuklah makcik yang berniaga nasi lemak dan kuih-muih berdekatan dengan tapak pembinaan. Projek sedemikian sudah tentu akan melibatkan beribu pekerja. Pekerja-pekerja yang dapat manfaat akan belanjakan duit yang mereka dapat kepada keluarga mereka. Dengan ini ekonomi akan berjalan dengan sebab projek tadi. Ini yang dimaksudkan dengan ‘spill over’ effect.

Umpama seorang ayah yang dapat bonus. Diagihkan duit tadi kepada isteri, anak-anak di sekolah dan universiti, mak dan ayah di kampung. Maka anak-anak akan belanja untuk keperluan mereka, isteri akan membeli-belah, begitu juga mak dan ayah di kampung. Maka semua dapat manfaat bonus yang diperolehi si ayah tadi, termasuk kedai mamak tempat anak-anak tadi makan roti canai. Begitulah juga kesan daripada projek mega.

Apa yang kita mahukan ialah pembangunan serentak di bandar dan luar bandar. Kalau nak tunggu satu projek setahun, lambat lah ekonomi kita nak bersaing. Pelabur pun nak tengok sama ada kerajaan berusaha sedaya upaya sediakan prasarana untuk rakyat. Sama ada kerajaan benar-benar sediakan peluang ekonomi untuk rakyat.

Dengan pembentangan ETP (Program Transformasi Ekonomi) oleh PM semalam, saya harap dapat membuka mata kita semua akan peluang-peluang yang bakal ada untuk kita dan anak cucu kita. Saya selalu bertanya kepada diri apa yang boleh saya sumbangkan untuk negara dan apakah saya tidak mahu ambil bahagian dalam kek ekonomi menjelang 2020? Eloklah kita tukar mindset melihat sesuatu pada sudut positif dahulu sebelum melihat dari sudut yang negatif.

Kerajaan dah sahut seruan rakyat. Bila rakyat nak sahut seruan kerajaan?

Sekian.





MEB penyelesai DEB?

29 04 2010

Dengan nama Allah Yang Maha Pemurah, Lagi Maha Mengasihani…

Saya bukan nak bercerita secara terperinci mengenai Model Ekonomi Baru tetapi saya tertarik dengan ‘affirmative action’ yang akan menumpukan golongan 40% strata pendapatan terendah dalam ekonomi Malaysia.

‘Affirmative action’ adalah sama seperti dasar mengutamakan bumiputera atau yang lebih kita ketahui sebagai DEB (Dasar Ekonomi Baru yang diperkenalkan oleh Allahyarham Tun Razak). DEB diperkenalkan untuk memberi keseimbangan terhadap jurang pendapatan antara kaum (distribution of wealth), yang mana pada permulaan perlaksanaannya jurang pendapatan antara bukan Bumiputera dan Bumiputera adalah jauh.  Kita akui kejayaan DEB dalam melahirkan Bumiputera kelas professional seperti doktor, jurutera, peguam, akauntan, ahli korporat dan lain-lain. DEB telah dapat mengurangkan jurang kemiskinan kepada 3.7%, kejayaan yang diakui baik negara maju mahupun yang sedang membangun. Kita juga akui ada juga kelemahan dalam perlaksanaan DEB. Namun seperti mana-mana dasar di dunia ini, DEB dilihat memerlukan kajian dan olahan semula bagi mengikut peredaran zaman dan pola ekonomi penduduk Malaysia yang telah berubah.

Majoriti rakyat Malaysia meghadapi risiko terperangkap dalam pendapatan kelas pertengahan. Mereka yang berada di kelas pertengahan ini adalah golongan yang berpendapatan ‘cukup-cukup’, tidak terlebih dan tidak pula terkurang. Apa yang membimbangkan adalah kos sara hidup yang meningkat lebih pantas daripada peluang pendapatan mereka untuk naik, yang bakal menyebabkan golongan ini terdedah dengan risiko untuk jatuh ke golongan berpendapatan rendah jika keadaan ekonomi tidak menentu.

Golongan ini merangkumi semua kaum, bukan hanya Bumiputera sahaja walaupun majoriti daripada 40% strata terendah ini terdiri daripada Bumiputera. Maka MEB akan menumpukan golongan 40% ini tanpa mengira kaum dan disamping itu tidak mengabaikan Bumiputera yang benar-benar memerlukan.

Kita boleh melihat 40%  adalah sebagai ‘threshold’ atau penanda aras bagi kaum Bumiputera. Ini bermakna jika anda Bumiputera yang berjaya berada di dalam golongan 60% strata teratas, anda tidak merangkumi golongan sasaran ‘affirmative action’ ataupun boleh ditafsir sebagai ‘golongan wajib tolong’. Anda tetap akan ditolong, tetapi berdasarkan merit ataupun pencapaian.

Contoh boleh kita lihat dalam soal pembahagian biasiswa. Selama ini formula yang kita gunakan adalah kuota antara kaum yang mana Bumiputera selalunya akan diberi lebih keutamaan daripada kaum-kaum lain. Melalui MEB, golongan 40% strata pendapatan terbawah ini akan diberi keutamaan untuk mendapat biasiswa. Seperti yang dikatakan tadi ini merangkumi semua kaum. Manakala pemberian biasiswa untuk 60% strata teratas dibuat berdasarkan merit. Ibu bapa yang bekerja sebagai professional sudah tentu mampu untuk membiayai pengajian anak mereka dengan sedikit bantuan atau tanpa ada bantuan daripada kerajaan.

Berdasarkan contoh diatas, saya melihat strategi MEB lebih adil dan peluang untuk golongan sasaran mendapat manfaat adalah lebih tinggi. Golongan 60% strata teratas termasuk Bumiputera dianggap sudah mampu berdikari dan dinilai berdasarkan merit sekaligus dikurangkan sedikit penggunaan ‘tongkat’ yang selama ini digunakan untuk membantu Bumiputera.

Saya juga melihat MEB sebagai penyelesai masalah politik dan ekonomi  negara untuk jangka masa panjang. Ini kerana MEB akan dapat menukar persepsi terhadap DEB yang dikatakan mengenepikan kaum bukan Bumiputera yang padahal fakta dan data menunjukkan ianya tidak benar sama sekali. DEB adalah satu dasar yang baik, cuma perlaksanaannya  yang kurang  mengenai golongan sasar. Malah boleh dikatakan DEB lebih memberi manfaat kepada bukan Bumiputera daripada Bumiputera. Golongan bukan Bumiputera di dalam lingkungan 40% tersebut bakal mendapat manfaat ‘affirmative action’ dalam kerangka MEB disamping tidak melupakan golongan Bumiputera yang memerlukan. Pendek kata, MEB bakal menjadi ‘wealth distribution’ yang lebih relevan dengan pola ekonomi masyarakat Malaysia pada masa sekarang.

Berbalik kepada golongan berpendapatan rendah dan sederhana/kelas pertengahan, MEB akan dapat menaikkan pendapatan golongan ini ke tahap yang lebih tinggi dan sekaligus mengeluarkan golongan ini daripada perangkap kelas rendah dan pertengahan. Ini kerana MEB akan menumpukan kepada meningkatkan kebolehupayaan golongan ini dengan memberi peluang-peluang baru dalam ekonomi. Dengan peluang-peluang yang diberikan, diharapkan mereka akan dapat membina kekayaan baru yang merangkumi aset-aset seperti hartanah, aset kewangan dan juga harta intelek.

MEB menampakkan usaha kerajaan secara ikhlas mahu menaikkan taraf ekonomi seluruh rakyat Malaysia agar seiring dengan sasaran 2020. Kita sebagai rakyat harus menggunakan peluang yang ada untuk menaikkan taraf ekonomi diri dan keluarga agar tergolong dalam pendapatan yang terbaik. Saya selalu menanyakan diri, pada 2020 nanti ekonomi negara akan setanding dengan negara-negara maju yang lain; Tidakkah saya mahu merebut peluang ekonomi yang ada? Apakah saya mahu pendapatan saya berada dalam keadaan statik? Adakah ianya salah kerajaan jika saya masih berada di kelas pertengahan? Tepuk dada, tanya diri.

Pembaca digalakkan membaca teks ucapan DS Najib mengenai MEB di sini dan bacaan lanjut mengenai MEB yang disediakan oleh Majlis Penasihat Ekonomi Negara (MPEN) di sini.





Americans, I have bad news for you

12 04 2010

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful…

This is an article taken here, by Lance Freeman.

America: The Grim Truth

Lance Freeman
Information Clearing House
April 9, 2010

You have the worst quality of life in the developed world – by a wide margin.

If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home.

I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.

Consider this: you are the only people in the developed world without a single-payer health system. Everyone in Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand has a single-payer system. If they get sick, they can devote all their energies to getting well. If you get sick, you have to battle two things at once: your illness and the fear of financial ruin. Millions of Americans go bankrupt every year due to medical bills, and tens of thousands die each year because they have no insurance or insufficient insurance. And don’t believe for a second that rot about America having the world’s best medical care or the shortest waiting lists: I’ve been to hospitals in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Singapore, and Thailand, and every one was better than the “good” hospital I used to go to back home. The waits were shorter, the facilities more comfortable, and the doctors just as good.

This is ironic, because you need a good health system more than anyone else in the world. Why? Because your lifestyle is almost designed to make you sick.

Let’s start with your diet: Much of the beef you eat has been exposed to fecal matter in processing. Your chicken is contaminated with salmonella. Your stock animals and poultry are pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. In most other countries, the government would act to protect consumers from this sort of thing; in the United States, the government is bought off by industry to prevent any effective regulations or inspections. In a few years, the majority of all the produce for sale in the United States will be from genetically modified crops, thanks to the cozy relationship between Monsanto Corporation and the United States government. Worse still, due to the vast quantities of high-fructose corn syrup Americans consume, fully one-third of children born in the United States today will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives.

Of course, it’s not just the food that’s killing you, it’s the drugs. If you show any sign of life when you’re young, they’ll put you on Ritalin. Then, when you get old enough to take a good look around, you’ll get depressed, so they’ll give you Prozac. If you’re a man, this will render you chemically impotent, so you’ll need Viagra to get it up. Meanwhile, your steady diet of trans-fat-laden food is guaranteed to give you high cholesterol, so you’ll get a prescription for Lipitor. Finally, at the end of the day, you’ll lay awake at night worrying about losing your health plan, so you’ll need Lunesta to go to sleep.

With a diet guaranteed to make you sick and a health system designed to make sure you stay that way, what you really need is a long vacation somewhere. Unfortunately, you probably can’t take one. I’ll let you in on little secret: if you go to the beaches of Thailand, the mountains of Nepal, or the coral reefs of Australia, you’ll probably be the only American in sight. And you’ll be surrounded crowds of happy Germans, French, Italians, Israelis, Scandinavians and wealthy Asians. Why? Because they’re paid well enough to afford to visit these places AND they can take vacations long enough to do so. Even if you could scrape together enough money to go to one of these incredible places, by the time you recovered from your jetlag, it would time to get on a plane and rush back to your job.

If you think I’m making this up, check the stats on average annual vacation days by country:

Finland: 44
Italy: 42
France: 39
Germany: 35
UK: 25
Japan: 18
USA: 12

The fact is, they work you like dogs in the United States. This should come as no surprise: the United States never got away from the plantation/sweat shop labor model and any real labor movement was brutally suppressed. Unless you happen to be a member of the ownership class, your options are pretty much limited to barely surviving on service-sector wages or playing musical chairs for a spot in a cubicle (a spot that will be outsourced to India next week anyway). The very best you can hope for is to get a professional degree and then milk the system for a slice of the middle-class pie. And even those who claw their way into the middle class are but one illness or job loss away from poverty. Your jobs aren’t secure. Your company has no loyalty to you. They’ll play you off against your coworkers for as long as it suits them, then they’ll get rid of you.

Of course, you don’t have any choice in the matter: the system is designed this way. In most countries in the developed world, higher education is either free or heavily subsidized; in the United States, a university degree can set you back over US$100,000. Thus, you enter the working world with a crushing debt. Forget about taking a year off to travel the world and find yourself – you’ve got to start working or watch your credit rating plummet.

If you’re “lucky,” you might even land a job good enough to qualify you for a home loan. And then you’ll spend half your working life just paying the interest on the loan – welcome to the world of American debt slavery. America has the illusion of great wealth because there’s a lot of “stuff” around, but who really owns it? In real terms, the average American is poorer than the poorest ghetto dweller in Manila, because at least they have no debts. If they want to pack up and leave, they can; if you want to leave, you can’t, because you’ve got debts to pay.

All this begs the question: Why would anyone put up with this? Ask any American and you’ll get the same answer: because America is the freest country on earth. If you believe this, I’ve got some more bad news for you: America is actually among the least free countries on earth. Your piss is tested, your emails and phone calls are monitored, your medical records are gathered, and you are never more than one stray comment away from writhing on the ground with two Taser prongs in your ass.

….read on here.





GST

15 03 2010

Dengan nama Allah yang Maha Pemurah Lagi Maha Mengasihani…

Sekarang bising pasal isu GST (Goods and Services Tax). Ada yang kata membebankan rakyat dengan cukai baru. Tapi rakyat yang tak mahu membaca lebih dan ambil tahu dengan lebih mendalam tak tahu yang sebenarnya mereka memang dah dibebankan dengan cukai yang lebih tinggi berbanding GST yang diusulkan sebanyak 4%. Biasalah, bila dengar cukai baru saja, semua orang tak senang poket.

Tapi bukan masalah rakyat sepenuhnya, salah kerajaan juga. Masalah klasik kegagalan dalam penyampaian. Nampak macam tak kena dengan slogan “Rakyat Didahulukan, Prestasi Diutamakan”. Sepatutnya ada gerakan oleh agensi kerajaan terutamanya Jabatan Penerangan untuk sekurang-kurangnya edarkan risalah yang menerangkan mengenai GST. Kalau nak lebih mantap adakan penerangan melalui radio dan televisyen. Taklah pembangkang ambil kesempatan untuk putar belit isu GST ni.

Sistem cukai yang diamalkan sekarang tidak efisien. Rakyat tidak sedar yang mereka sebenarnya kena double tax. Contohnya ada barangan yang mengandungi dua cukai pada harganya. Cukai jualan dan cukai perkhidmatan. Ini menyebabkan pengguna terpaksa membayar harga yang tinggi berbanding dengan sistem satu cukai.

Sama sekali tidak betul dakwaan bahawa kerajaan mahu menggunakan GST sebagai menutup defisit belanjawan negara. Defisit belanjawan adalah biasa pada waktu ekonomi dunia merudum kerana ekonomi perlu ‘stimulant’ untuk lonjak kembali ke tahap positif. Lihat berapa banyak negara-negara maju berbelanja untuk merangsang kembali ekonomi mereka. Jika dikira defisit, US adalah negara yang muflis; $1.42 trillion. Berani lawan?

Barang asas keperluan harian tidak akan dikenakan GST. Jadi janganlah ada suara-suara yang nak mengatakan bahawa GST akan membebankan rakyat berpendapatan rendah. Ianya cuma penstrukturan semula sistem cukai sekarang. Baca dan kaji sendiri bagaimana sistem cukai baru ini. Kita tak mahu kerajaan mengamalkan dasar ‘populis’ tapi kita mahu kerajaan mengamalkan dasar apa yang baik untuk rakyat terutamanya untuk masa depan. Berbelanja terlalu banyak untuk subsidi juga tak baik untuk pembangunan negara. Duit banyak dibelanjakan untuk masa sekarang daripada masa hadapan. Tapi subsidi tak boleh dimansuhkan sepenuhnya. Cuma ianya perlu ada had.





I am tired, the whole world is tired; When is the next economic crisis?

27 02 2010

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

For the last 30 years we have went through the roller coaster of the world economy; 1973-1974 stock market crash combined with the oil crisis resulted from the Yum Kippur War; 1980s economic crisis because of the loan and savings institutions failures in the US; 1997 Asian financial crisis that crippled the growth of  most of the “Asian Tiger” countries; 2000 dot-com bubble and I am sure not the last one neither the least one is the sub-prime crisis which affected the economic growth of every country in the world. The question is what’s next in store?

The answer to the question above can be answered if we look carefully at the US economy. With its deficit of $1.42 trillion and a soaring national debt of  $12.4 trillion (an approximation; too many digits to put all), I think an American citizen can look at this number the same way he look at the Empire State building; with utter astonishment. The recent stimulus and bail-out to various investment banks and insurance companies added up to this mountainous debt. I see this as irreversible. Because of this enormous debt which mostly incurred from borrowing from other countries for example China,  the bulk of US dollars are outside the US, making the country vulnerable to its own currency if the dollar collapse (decline severely in value). But how is this possible?

To someone who never had an economic course, get ready for Economics 101 (smiley). As we all know, the price of anything in this world is affected by its demand and supply. If demand is static, an increase in supply will lower the price of a certain product and vice versa. The same goes if the supply is static, the increase in demand will increase the price of a certain product and vice versa. To sound more academic, we say that demand and supply have an inverse relationship.

Before I go on, another thing you need to know is about bond. A bond is a debt instrument, in which the issuer (in this case the US govt) owes the bond holder (countries which buy the bonds) the amount of money stated on the bond, and is obliged to pay interest to the bond holder and pay the full amount owed at the end of the bond’s term. Currently, China is the highest holder of the US bonds, a total of $727 billion, making the country as the top creditor to the US.  The value of bonds that has been issued by the US is about $3 trillion, as at Dec 2009. So what?

Imagine China dumping (selling) half of its bond holding and its US dollar bills (the real US dollar,not bonds) to the world market. This will create an influx of US dollars and hence increase the supply of it. As we learned in the previous two paragraphs, when the demand of the US dollar remained relatively static and the supply increase, this will lower the value of the US dollar. Other countries which are holding the US bonds and dollars as their reserves will also dump their dollars that they have, being afraid that their holding value will fall if they don’t dump as quickly as possible. The result will be the vertical fall of the US dollar in a day or two and hence another crisis for the world to suffer. Arrggh..not again. What will happen then?

The world stock market and foreign exchange market will crash severely. People (Americans) will be panic knowing that their money that they saved as well as in their wallet can’t even buy a dozen of eggs. People will loot supermarkets and there will be civil disturbances and the state of emergency. God knows what will happen. All world trades in the US dollar will put to a halt and the leaders of the world will meet to resolve the issue. This is the time for the New World Order propagandists to put forward their idea of one world currency. When there is no apparent choice, the world will succumb to this proposal.

Most economists does not question will or will not the US dollar will collapse, but when will it collapse. US will not be able to sustain its current spending, and sooner or later has to admit that it can no longer service its debt. It can result to printing money but printing money will result in the increase in the money supply without the backing of production. When will this happen? Soon I guess. Will it happen? Absolutely. Be prepared of this unthinkable  crisis.