28 October 2008

Late October 2008 Report

Worldwide, stock markets are experiencing downward trends. The current situation may be described as a meltdown. The following headlines could be seen in the Business section of today's The Star newspaper: Central Bank Intervention Fails To Prop Up Aussie Dollar (link), Malaysia, Singapore Stocks Hammered (link), KLCI Tumbles 53pts in Early Trade (link), and Oil Prices Fall As Investors Eye Weak Demand (link). The Malaysian Insider reported that signs of recession were becoming apparent globally

The US dollar is appreciating against other currencies -- perhaps with the exception of the Japanese Yen. The price of petrol, frequently traded in USD, is subsequently also dropping. At last count, the price of petrol (Brent crude) stood at USD63 per barrel. Crude oil was traded in Houston at a low of USD61.30. In Malaysia crude oil futures were traded at USD62.39.

Subsequently, many quarters have started calling for the reduction of the price of everyday goods. CASSA, the Consumer Association of Subang and Shah Alam, is calling for the electricity tariffs to be lowered. (Source: Malaysiakini.com, Consumers Want Power Tariff Down, by R. Ghazali, 28.10.2008) This is in reaction to the falling price of petrol. A year ago, Malaysians were warned by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak that the price of things would go up. (Source: Malaysiakini.com, Brace For Gas, Electricity Price Hikes, 01.12.2007)

Meanwhile, the leadership of this great nation continue to be obsessed with internal party politics. In an effort to gain more nominations, a certain UMNO candidate is suggesting that the party's loyalists be allowed to control the government. (Source: Malaysiakini.com, Biarkan Parti Kuasai Semula Kerajaan, by MM Noor, 28.10.2008) This particular candidate is also stressing that the NEP (New Economic Policy) has failed to achieve the target 30% ownership by a certain ethnic group. In troubled times like these, is it really the right thing to do -- play the racial card, in order to gain personal mileage? While he is not blatantly blaming the economic woes on other ethnic groups, yet the pressing of racial "hot buttons", for political mileage, is not the answer. (Perhaps it is because he needs a few more nominations?) Instead, he and other members of UMNO should realise that every single Malaysian is suffering from the present economic downturn. (Source: Malaysiakini.com, Hidup Melayu! by N. Tan and N Nazmi N Ahmad, 9.9.2008)

It is time to stop the politicking, and get to resuscitating the economy. Let us start to hope. Let us take the first step by realising that politicians are at this point of time, trying to get votes from their own party members. If we succumb to their talk, we would sacrifice the opportunity to bring us to a stabler economy. Instead, we should quietly reflect -- on the sombre prospects that await, and what can be done together, to enjoy a better future together.