Congratulations to the People of Thailand

December 3, 2016

Congratulations to the People of Thailand

by AFP

Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn becomes Rama X of Thailand’s Chakri Dynasty, but will not formally be crowned until after his father’s cremation, which is expected next year.


Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn became the King of Thailand late Thursday, opening a new chapter for the powerful monarchy in a country still mourning the death of his father.

The 64-year-old Prince inherits one of the world’s richest monarchies as well as a politically febrile nation, 50 days after King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death.

After weeks of complex palace protocols the Prince was invited by the head of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to ascend the throne in an event broadcast on all Thai television channels.

“I agree to accept the wishes of the late King… for the benefit of the entire Thai people,” said Vajiralongkorn, wearing an official white tunic decorated with medals and a pink sash.

The sombre, ritual-heavy ceremony at his Bangkok palace was attended by the Chief of the NLA, junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha, and the powerful 96-year-old head of the privy council, Prem Tinsulanonda.

Red-jacketed courtiers looked on as a palace staff member, shuffling on his knees, presented the new King with a microphone through which he delivered his few words of acceptance.

Image result for New King of Thailand

His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn then prostrated himself, hands pressed together in respect, to a small shrine topped by a picture of his father and mother —Her Majesty Queen Sirikit Kitiyakara.

He becomes Rama X of Thailand’s Chakri dynasty, but will not formally be crowned until after his father’s cremation, which is expected next year.

Bhumibol’s reign, which ended on October 13, spanned a tumultuous period of Thai history pockmarked by a communist insurgency, coups and street protests.

Image result for New King of Thailand

It also saw breakneck development which has resulted in a huge wealth disparity between a Bangkok-centric elite and the rural poor.To many Thais, Bhumibol was the only consistent force in a politically combustible country, his image burnished by ritual and shielded by a harsh royal defamation law.

The United States offered its congratulations to the new King, saying it looked forward to strengthening ties with Thailand. “We offer our best wishes to his majesty and all of the Thai people,” the State Department said.

“His father, King Bhumibol, ruled the Kingdom of Thailand with vision and compassion for 70 years and was a great friend of the United States. The United States and Thailand enjoy a longstanding, strong, and multifaceted bilateral relationship, and we look forward to deepening that relationship and strengthening the bonds between our two countries and peoples going forward.”

Into the limelight

Monks chanted blessings at Buddhist temples to mark the new monarch’s ascension — an era-defining moment for most Thais who for seven decades knew only Bhumibol as their King.

His Majesty Vajiralongkorn does not yet enjoy the same level of popularity.He spends much of his time outside of the public eye, particularly in southern Germany where he owns property.

He has had three high-profile divorces, while a recent police corruption scandal linked to the family of his previous wife allowed the public a rare glimpse of palace affairs.

Thursday’s ascension ends a period of uncertainty since Bhumibol’s death prompted by the Prince’s request to delay his official proclamation so he could mourn with the Thai people.

Thailand’s constitutional monarchy has limited formal powers but it draws the loyalty of much of the kingdom’s business elite as well as a military that dominates politics through its regular coups.

Analysts say  His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn, untested until now, will have to manage competing military cliques.

In a brief televised address after the ceremony, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who as army chief led the 2014 coup, praised the new King “as the head of the Thai state and heart of the Thai people.”

The Thai monarchy is protected from criticism by one of the world’s strictest lese majeste laws, carrying up to 15 years in jail for every charge of defaming the King, Queen, heir or regent.

That law makes open discussion about the Royal Family’s role all but impossible inside the Kingdom and means all media based inside the country routinely self-censor. Convictions for so-called “112” offences — named after its criminal code — have skyrocketed since the Generals seized power in 2014.

Experts say most have targeted the junta’s political opponents, many of whom support the toppled civilian government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

The emergence of Yingluck’s brother Thaksin in 2001, a vote-winning billionaire seen by many of the rural poor as their champion, prompted the recent round of political conflict. The army and royalist establishment have toppled two governments led by the siblings, accusing them of nepotism and corruption.


Speak up, oh you young people of Malaysia

April 15, 2016

Speak up, oh you young people of Malaysia

 by Scott Ng
COMMENT:  It doesn’t matter that the politicians don’t represent us. We can make ourselves heard.

National debater turned political activist for the youth, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman (above) is on a mission. It’s the same mission youth organisers all over the world have given themselves. They want to galvanise youth sentiment into political capital. They want to reach out to the most informed and most judgemental generation in history and make them care about politics because the political process has shut out their voice and fed them bread and circuses to keep them docile.

We often forget that the “battle for the next generation” has come and passed without our politicos realising it. The tail end of Generation Y will be of voting age soon and have already formed concrete opinions about the government and the various political parties, thanks to the availability of information and the ease of access that the smartphone era has brought us.

It is quite amazing how youth values across Generation Y are largely shared across the board – a concern for the environment, a mistrust of government and big banks, a need to secure our mutual futures, and a general acceptance of different cultures. Analysts worldwide theorise that this set of values was determined by the epoch Gen Y grew up in, which was one of terrorist attacks and economic collapses.

Yet, Gen Y shows a great need to come together. What Syed is attempting to do in taking a youth group like Challenger to the fore is to bring back youth activism and youth politics, and the timing is good indeed. He recognises that it’s time that young people be given their own voice in the political arena instead of through the youth wing of any established political party.

A survey that Challenger conducted recently struck us with it’s findings. It turns out that we are fighting for the same things that the youth of America, Greece and the United Kingdom are fighting for – jobs and living wages, an end to the corruption of our governments and corporations and the preservation of our environment.

Whatever you may think of Syed, he deserves our praise for daring to be our voice. They should inspire us to speak up too. We must realize that there are now more of us millennials in the workplace than there are of our parents’ generation. We are the majority, and it’s time to care.


Join Rally to Stop TPPA–End Wall Street Rule

January 13, 2016

Join Rally to Stop TPPA–End Wall Street Rule

by Sivarajan A.
PSM Secretary General
Mobile: 010 2580 455


Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) will take to the streets on January 23, 2016 at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, 2 p.m to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. We urge the rakyat to join us in this final and most important rally to stop the TPPA.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia has been fighting against the US led Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement since Malaysia’s participation in 2010. Even since 2005, we have voiced our concerns to the then trade Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz when US lured Malaysia into negotiating the US Malaysia Free Trade Bilateral Agreement.


The aspirations of the US Multinationals and investors are still prevalent in the TPPA, as they rush to secure their economic interest by side lining growing China’s influence in the region. It is clear how the TPPA will trample upon our rights for affordable medicines, job security, food security, affordable education etc,.

PSM is puzzled by the Najib led government persistence to ink the deal despite various studies and findings by scholars, economist debunking the so-called benefits of the TPPA. Recently Professor Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram revealed that TPPA will only lead to unemployment, inequality instead of real economic gains for Malaysia.

Jomo KS

For the past two months PSM has been on a road show throughout the country educating the rakyat on the implications of the TPPA.  From the road show we gather that the people are not convinced of the benefits of the TPPA, being already burdened by the rising cost of living and GST and rampant corruption and abuses of power.

Thus we urge the rakyat to come out in force on  January  23, to express our opposition to the TPPA. This will be the deciding rally to make our voices heard to Najib Tun Razak that he is now making another big mistake in his leadership .

PSM will fully mobilise our forces to make this peaceful protest rally a success. The gathering will take place at Dataran Merdeka and PSM will lead a march from Maju Junction on that day at 1 pm. We welcome all grassroot organisations, unions and NGO’s to join us.  Stop TPPA ! End Corporate Rule !


Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman’s Open Letter to the NY Times

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman’s Open Letter to the NY Times Editor

COMMENT: Thomas Fuller’s article and interview with Tun Dr Din MericanXMahathir Mohamad which appeared in the New York Times ( June 17, 2015) have received a response from Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman.

It is a reasonable reaction. Minister Aman is expressing concern about the effects of the article and Dr. Mahathir’s interview on Malaysia’s image and Prime Minister’s reputation at home and abroad. As usual, our government’s response has come a little too late.

Furthermore, the Foreign Minister’s Open letter has not added any new material to what is already in the public domain. He merely rehashed them and attacked the former Prime Minister for raising valid issues about the 1MDB scandal.

Damage done to the Prime Minister in the eyes of Malaysians at home and the international community except for his loyal friend, US President Barack Obama, is irreversible. 1MDB scandal has gone out of control because the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, its Chairman Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and Directors, and its Chief Executive Officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy failed to respond clearly and honestly when the matter came to light.

In stead, the Malaysian public were given a merry-go-round with misleading and contradictory answers about the financial affairs  of this sovereign fund. In their arrogance, they assume that we can accept their version as the gospel truth and that we are timid and stupid.What happened to the RM42 billion loan remains answered.

Our attention is being diverted to the politics of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee headed by MP Nur Jazlan and the Opposition, and the antics and tactics of  Mr. Arul and his associates, the Auditor-General, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Inspector-General of Police with occasional interventions by the Prime Minister, his Deputy Prime Minister and senior ministers in his Cabinet.

In order to put Foreign Minister’s Open Letter in the right context, please read this:

Tun Dr MahathirWe may disagree with the Tun’s approach, but in fairness to our former Prime Minister, he had raised them with the Prime Minister in private meetings but he never received any satisfactory response. Tun Dr. Mahathir is consummate politician, no doubt; but in this matter many Malaysians share his concern about 1MDB’s huge debt in the event of a taxpayer or GLC funded bailout or loan default with macro implications on the national economy and our financial and banking system.–Din Merican

The Foreign Minister’s Open Letter as reproduced from :

anifah_amanUNMalaysia’s Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman

It is regrettable to see Tun Mahathir seeking to undermine his own country in the international media as part of a personal political vendetta.

It is irresponsible of any citizen, let alone a former Prime Minister, to spread lies and distortions about state owned companies – saying for example that RM42 bn is missing from 1MDB to create public anxiety, when in fact these are audited debts backed by RM51 billion in assets. These reckless claims have affected market sentiment towards Malaysia.

Furthermore, it is telling that he continues to mount his attacks, rather than wait for the findings of the enquiries currently being undertaken by Malaysia’s central bank, Auditor General, and parliament’s bipartisan Public Accounts Committee. This shows that Tun Mahathir is not interested in answers from the appropriate lawful authorities. Rather, he is just using 1MDB as an excuse to topple the serving prime minister, Najib Tun Razak.

And all because his personal demands, as Tun Mahathir himself has acknowledged, are not being met. Prime Minister Najib, as Malaysia’s democratically elected leader, will do what he thinks is right for the nation, and will not allow rule by proxy.

Tun Mahathir told the New York Times that UMNO “lacks vision and talented people”, that it “has become a repository of patronage-seeking politicians”, and that members “try to keep out people who are more intelligent than themselves”. But it is Tun Mahathir who led the party for 22 years.

It was he that, during his time, worked to cultivate ‘yes men’ and entrench his position – even introducing a quota system for the UMNO presidency to prevent challengers – rather than bringing in talent and strengthening the party. It is Prime Minister Najib who democratised the party constitution to make it far easier to challenge him for his job.‎

For Tun Mahathir to accuse Prime Minister Najib of acts “verging on criminal” is simply outrageous, and entirely false. It is a measure of the reforms put in place under Prime Minister Najib’s administration that Tun Mahathir has the freedom to be so vocally critical of the party and government he once led.‎

But Tun Mahathir is abusing that freedom, and his privileged standing as a former Prime Minister, to indulge in reckless and baseless personal smears against Prime Minister Najib and his family. Most Malaysians would rather see Tun Mahathir retire gracefully than continue to damage the standing of his own country for personal political gain.

Y.B. Dato’ Sri Anifah bin Haji Aman
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia

Obama Urges Prime Minister Najib to apply the Rule of Law apolitically

March 13, 2015

Obama Urges Prime Minister Najib to apply the Rule of Law apolitically


Barack Obama

The White House today expressed its disappointment over Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s guilty conviction for sodomy, and urged Putrajaya to apply the rule of law to promote confidence in the country’s democracy, judiciary and economy.

In a statement following the close of a petition launched by former US Ambassador to Malaysia John Malott to press for Anwar’s freedom, the Obama administration said the worry was compounded by the Malaysian government’s intention to expand the sedition law against critics, despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s promise to repeal it.

The statement said the US had made its concerns on Anwar’s conviction clear through statements and interactions with Putrajaya and would continue to do so.

“The initial decision to prosecute Mr. Anwar, the decision to appeal the not guilty verdict, and the overturning of that verdict raise a number of serious concerns about the rule of law and the fairness of the judicial system in Malaysia,” the White House statement said.

It added that the two countries were committed to work together on the economy and security challenges, but said Washington would continue to urge Malaysia to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently and apolitically.

“History has shown that countries that uphold the human rights of all their citizens, regardless of their political affiliation, ethnicity, race, religion, or sexual orientation, are ultimately more prosperous and more stable, the White House said.

The petition for Anwar’s freedom achieved 113,122 signatures, more than the 100,000 required to qualify a response from the Obama administration.

The Federal Court on February 10 upheld Anwar’s sodomy conviction and his five-year jail sentence.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy said yesterday more than 60,000 signatures were removed from a counter-petition to the White House on Anwar because they originated from disposal email services.

From more than 70,000 signatures initially, the petition that took issue with the Washington’s stand on Anwar’s conviction was reinstated online with around 12,000 signatures.

“The White House did remove 60,789 signatures deemed to be fraudulent because a vast majority of those signatures originated from

“Other fraudulent signatures originated from trashmail, sharklasers, and mallinator – all disposable email services. Those fraudulent signatures occurred over the life of the petition,” the embassy added.

The counter petition was started nearly a month ago after the petition in support of Anwar’s freedom was launched.

It said Malaysians were “outraged” with the White House’s statement expressingJohn R. Malott2 disappointment with Anwar’s jailing, and told the US to “stop interfering in Malaysia’s judiciary and rule of law”.

Malott’s petition, “Make the release of Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim from prison a top priority for US policy towards Malaysia”, was also temporarily removed after standard fraud checks by the White House erroneously identified it as a petition with fraudulent signatures.

The embassy clarified on Wednesday that it was not the free Anwar petition but the counter petition which had fraudulent signatures.

The counter petition, titled “Respecting the Sovereign Nation of Malaysia”, reached 12,612 signatures as of this morning.



The IMF on the Malaysian Economy

March 8, 2015

The IMF on the Malaysian Economy


This message contains the Press Release issued after the conclusion of IMF’s recent Article IV Consultations, with a link to the full Staff Report and a background paper entitled: “SELECTED ISSUES PAPER ON MALAYSIA”. These highly nuanced documents represent a kind of independent treasury report card on the Malaysian economy.



[Executive] Directors praised Malaysia’s impressive strides in economic development, which is the outcome of comprehensive initiatives to boost investment, improve infrastructure, and upgrade human capital. They agreed that Malaysia’s commitment to regional integration should also help support the country’s transition to high-income status by further enhancing competition and productivity.

IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with Malaysia

Press Release No. 15/88
March 3, 2015

On February 13, 2015, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation1 with Malaysia.

Malaysia’s well diversified economy continued to perform well in 2014. Growth accelerated to 5.9 percent, aided by robust domestic private demand and a recovery in exports. Lower energy costs helped contain inflation to 3.1 percent despite the removal of fuel subsidies and increase in electricity tariffs. Investment sustained its rising trend, reaching 26.8 percent of GDP in 2014, fueled by accommodative financial conditions and continued public spending on infrastructure.

Growth is expected to moderate to 4.8 percent in 2015. Strong investment momentum should help offset headwinds from continued fiscal consolidation. Lower energy prices will be a drag on oil and gas production but should provide a boost to the large non-oil sector. Consumption growth will moderate following the introduction of goods and services tax (GST), although a strong labor market and supportive—albeit gradually tightening—domestic financial conditions and lower energy costs should help consumers.

Fiscal consolidation is well timed, appropriately paced, and remains on track. The authorities recently revised the federal budget resulting in a slight change of the budget deficit ceiling, to 3.2 percent from 3.0 percent of GDP, in a timely and pragmatic response to the sharp recent decline in international crude oil prices. They took bold fiscal action in 2014, continuing a multi-year drive to reduce costly and untargeted subsidies. After raising electricity tariffs in early 2014, they took advantage of lower energy prices in the second half of 2014 to reduce and ultimately remove remaining gasoline and diesel subsidies. Subsidy reform together with the GST, which is on track to be introduced in April, should help offset the reduction in energy revenues. They should also help broaden the base of federal revenue system and diversify it away from volatile oil and gas revenues. A strengthening of Malaysia’s social safety net is an integral part of the authorities’ fiscal strategy.

The removal of subsidies freed up resources that can be redirected to better support poorer households through better targeted cash transfers. Malaysia is making progress in reforming its fiscal institutions. Top-down fiscal management and control are also being strengthened and the size of supplementary budgets has been substantially reduced. These reforms will help reinforce the sustainability of Malaysia’s public finances and make the fiscal system more effective in promoting efficiency, equity and growth.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) took a step at normalizing monetary conditions in July but has since paused as downside risks to growth increased and inflation remained low, while risks to financial stability abated. Headline inflation will increase slightly, to 3.2 percent in 2015 from 3.1 percent in 2014, reflecting the net impact of subsidy rationalization, GST implementation, and exchange rate depreciation. BNM has adopted a wait-and-see attitude, and this cautious stance is appropriate for now taking into consideration lower expected inflation, the slowdown in domestic economic growth, and increased uncertainty surrounding the domestic and global outlook.

It would be prudent to move to a neutral monetary policy stance as soon as the uncertainty in the external environment dissipates. Malaysia’s financial system is sound and well-placed to withstand stresses, including from a potentially bumpy and asynchronous normalization of monetary policies in the advanced economies. The high level of household debt together with large participation of foreign investors in Malaysia’s financial markets warrant continued vigilance. The flexible exchange rate system and substantial financial buffers, as well as offsetting action by domestic institutional investors, provide multiple lines of defense against capital flow volatility.

Favorable domestic economic conditions offer a window of opportunity to continue structural reforms to raise productivity growth by increasing innovation, raising the quality of education, addressing youth unemployment, and increasing female labor force participation. Malaysia also stands to benefit from its outward economic orientation and the strengthening of regional economic and financial integration underway, including the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and other trade initiatives. Accelerating the pace of regional integration should help unleash Malaysia’s and ASEAN’s economic potential.

Executive Board Assessment2

Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal. They considered that Malaysia’s economic prospects remain favorable, notwithstanding risks from softening external demand, volatile capital flows, and lower commodity prices. Directors shared the view that Malaysia is well-placed to address these risks, given a track record of skilful macroeconomic management, strong policy frameworks, and a sound financial system.

Directors commended the authorities’ continued commitment to fiscal prudence. They welcomed their response to weaker oil-related revenues, especially the removal of poorly-targeted fuel subsidies which creates budgetary space for needed social and capital investment. Directors cautioned, however, that a prolonged period of depressed commodity prices may require further fiscal adjustment. Accordingly, they encouraged the authorities to consider broadening the revenue base, phase out remaining untargeted subsidies, and further improve public financial management and social transfers.

Directors agreed that the current accommodative monetary policy stance is appropriate, given subdued inflation and the likelihood that prospective price increases related to the introduction of a value-added tax will be offset by lower energy prices. More broadly, they commended Bank Negara Malaysia’s cautious policy making to ensure that monetary policy continues to support non-inflationary growth and financial stability.

Directors noted that Malaysia’s financial system is sound and benefits from a strong regulatory and supervisory framework. They considered that policies have been successful so far in containing financial vulnerabilities, although high household debt warrants continued vigilance. In this regard, Directors cautioned that additional macro prudential measures could be needed if the low interest rate environment leads to excessive leverage.

Directors welcomed the ongoing reduction of Malaysia’s current account surplus, which reflects in part the economy’s rebalancing toward domestic demand. They took note of the staff’s assessment that the external position remains somewhat stronger than warranted by medium-term fundamentals, but stressed the uncertainty surrounding such an assessment.

Directors praised Malaysia’s impressive strides in economic development, which is the outcome of comprehensive initiatives to boost investment, improve infrastructure, and upgrade human capital. They agreed that Malaysia’s commitment to regional integration should also help support the country’s transition to high-income status by further enhancing competition and productivity.

Note: Due to space constraints, Table 1 Selected Macro Economic Indicators cannot be posted. I recommend that you read the full report. That is a good idea since the IMF Consultation report needs careful reading for what is not said, rather what is written in the Press Release. The IMF report does not deal with the implications of the 1MDB scandal. The IMF does not audit Malaysia’s financial affairs. That is why there must be an independent forensic audit on 1MDB and its report must be released for public knowledge.  For this, I suggest you read The Edge (March 9–March 15 issue) article pages 62 and 63 and  pages 64 and 65.–Din Merican