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Graphics from The Malaysian Insider.

So AAB and NTR swap portfolios to become the new Defense and Finance minister respectively.

Don’t these blokes have better things to do. Or is this act an open admission that they have failed in their respective ministries previously?

For example, Budget 2009 contained a proposal for a government operating expenditure amounting to RM154 billion which is the highest ever in Malaysian history. In Budget 2008, it was RM129 billion, the previous historical high. And yet, we have the Auditor-General’s annual reports disclosing leakages and misappropriation of taxpayers’ monies to contend with. Plus, if we are to opine that some of the allocations may not reach the liberated states of Kelantan, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Penang, why is there still an increase of almost 20 percent?

At the time of its presentation (end August), the budget was dependent on oil prices hovering at US$125 or above to generate a projected income of RM176 billion to complement the expenditures. Oil is now down to US$92 per barrel which also means that we are facing a larger than expected deficit within this fiscal year. And CPO prices are also down in tandem with oil which invariably create losses on two major export income.

I suspect that when Budget debate begins on 13th October ’08 in parliament, there might be a motion of no confidence on the PM which will require a re-tabling. If the revised budget is also rejected by the MPs, AAB have but one option i.e. to call for a snap general election to secure a fresh mandate. By which time, NTR being the new Finance minister can be conveniently made a scapegoat for any UMNO/BN gaffes.

Budget readings here, here and here.

Or perhaps, AAB fancies himself being paraded around in glittering military colors complete with a loaded Glock revolver strapped to his waist. And I thought he’s shot himself in the foot, far too many times oredi.

Transition on track? Yeah, right! And the monkey’s uncle was the mediator.

Update: 2230HR 18/09/08.

The following article was posted at Rocky’s Bru today which I’m re-producing it here in full:

Pak Lah’s economic reckoning
18 Sept, 2008

WALL STREET JOURNAL ASIA

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced this week that he has enough parliamentary support to unseat the current government, led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. If he does, Abdullah’s lacklustre economic management will be largely to blame.

The prime minister has not introduced any substantive reforms during his nearly five years in office, preferring to rely instead on opening up the government purse. Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan announced in 2005, he expanded public-sector spending to RM200 billion annually from RM160 billion. In his Midterm Plan Review this year, he increased this outlay to RM240 billion. The national debt now stands at RM285 billion, up from RM192 billion in 2004. The official fiscal deficit has risen to 4.8% of GDP this year, from 3.2% last year. Revenue is being spent faster than it is coming in.

It’s hard to argue that these outlays have served the broad public interest. Much of the funding has been channelled to elites in the majority Malay community, under the country’s pro-Malay affirmation action programme. That has created discontent with many Malay who don’t see the full benefits of the programme, and among the minority Chinese and Indians, who are excluded from it altogether.

Abdullah’s stewardship has had a real impact on the economy. Capital flight has risen sharply; Malaysian investment abroad now exceeds inward foreign investment. The Kuala Lumpur stock exchange has lost almost one-fifth of its value this year to date. Malaysia’s currency, the ringgit, saw its biggest one-month loss last month since the end of the dollar peg in 2005. Although GDP growth has averaged a robust 5% annual growth under Abdullah, that record is now under threat. Inflation reached a record 8.5% this summer. Job creation has reached record lows, as unemployment, particularly among young majority Malays, remains high. Ironically, only the opposition-led state governments are attracting new foreign investment — and without the federal government’s help, no less.

Abdullah’s 2004 attempts to promote growth and investment — such as through the promotion of the biotechnology and agricultural industries — have failed. He also fumbled discussions with the United States on a free trade agreement, which have now stalled. What Malaysia really needs is education reform and the liberalisation of its labour markets to improve its economic competitiveness.

The political opposition, in the form of Anwar and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition, have seized on these issues. They have promised to root out corruption and to implement a new economic policy to address the concerns of all ethnic communities in Malaysia. Their platform aims to move beyond populist spending to introduce structural reforms in government procurement programmes and in the management of government-linked companies.

When Abdullah assumed office in 2004, he inherited an economy in need of structural reform. Malaysians have had to pay for his poor stewardship through higher prices, stagnating wages and growing private sector debt. Soon, Abdullah may have to pay the political price for that record.

SAPP have started their exodus into uncharted territory. A tri-partisan political scenario which may set the course for a better Malaysia.

PR may have failed to set up the new Federal government on Malaysia Day, 16th September ’08 but SAPP’s exit from BN will invariably pave the way for a further reduction of BN’s mandate to govern the nation.

If there is enough support or even a total rejection of the UMNO-led BN administration by the other eleven component parties of MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PBB, SUPP, SPDP, PRS, UPKO, PBS, PBRS, and LDP, UMNO with 79 seats in parliament will become a minority government.

As a minority government, UMNO’s position will be precarious in light of the Budget debate scheduled in October ’08 whereby a vote of no confidence on AAB can be made and upheld in parliament. If and when this comes to pass, the YDPA may have to decide on a new PM who commands the confidence of the majority of the MPs. With 79 MPs, UMNO will then face up to 82 from PR and 61 from the new Third Front. Alternatively, BN/UMNO may resort to calling for snap general election on parliamenrtary seats only as there may be provisions within the Federal Constitution to allow the GE12 results for state seats to be maintained.

There is another option i.e. MPs of PR and the Third Front totalling 143 seats can negotiate amongst themselves to set up a unity government or a Grand Coalition PROVIDED UMNO does not call for a snap election mentioned earlier. Even so, for the sake of transparency and legitimacy, it is hoped that such a coalition is meant to set the nation back on track to proper governance, and a fresh mandate from the rakyat is sought within the near future (instead of 2013). UMNO will effectively become the de-facto opposition in parliament in the interim period.

Let’s see whether our elected MPs have the scrotal and moral gumption to truly serve their electorate including those who did not vote for them.

For heaven’s sake, please do it for all Malaysians and not just the party.

Relevant readings here, here and here.

I’ve got a call from Eric Woon aka I am a Malaysian regarding Sheih aka Kickdefella.

Details are sketchy. Sheih is NOT under ISA detention but arrested for sedition.

Will try to update asap.

Read NST report here.

Courtesy of Mob1900.

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