13 July 2009

YAB DS Najib Tun Razak: Oil Will Rise

Today, in an article featured on the Business Standard, Malaysian Prime Minister YAB Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak was quoted as saying that global oil prices would rise this year, though not to the spectacular heights of 2007. (Ref: Business Standard, 13th July 2009. Global oil prices are expected to rise: Malaysia PM)

Business Standard, on its website, claims the following:

Business Standard is the country's most respected business daily, being the first choice of serious business readers. It is published in colour from 12 centres in India - Mumbai (formerly Bombay), New Delhi, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Bangalore, Chennai (formerly Madras), Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Pune, Kochi and Bhubaneswar. The newspaper believes in free, fair and independent journalism and strives to inculcate these values in its editorial staff. The journalism practised by Business Standard lays equal stress on quality, credibility and accuracy. Business Standard has the country's best economic journalists and columnists working for it. It is edited by T.N. Ninan, perhaps India’s best-known business journalist.

It is great that an Indian business daily would take note of our Prime Minister's speech. I myself was surprised because I had tuned in to http://news.google.com and searched for "Malaysia", when the link to the above story popped up.

But perhaps what is deserving of greater news is that the speech itself, and the 14th Annual Oil & Gas Conference, took place on 8th June 2009. One can check out our PM's personal weblog at www.1malaysia.com.my, which contains the speech in full.

Well, what do you make of that? Perhaps time travelling has become a thing of reality. Actually, our PM's latest blog entry is about his first 100 days, and beyond.

And for those who do not know it, YAB Dato Seri "marked" his first 100 days in office by announcing 11 "goodies". (Ref: The Star Online, 12th July 2009. Najib marks 100 days with people-friendly measures) Of the eleven, I find two most intriguing:

  • a 20% toll discount for frequent users who pay toll 80 times a month or more via the Smart Tag or Touch ’n Go, effective Sept 1

  • reducing the cost to obtain a B2 motorcycle licence (under 250cc), including riding lessons, to RM211 effective Sept 1. It currently costs around RM500 to RM700 to attend lessons and the test

The implications for the first point, will be that frequent road users will benefit while those who use it less, will not benefit. But then, in a world where basic facilities are becoming more and more commoditized, it is only natural to cultivate customer loyalty.

The implications for the second point, may be that there will be an increase of Mat Rempits on the road! This may pose a hazard to society at large, as before this the high cost of obtaining a licence was a natural obstacle for younger citizens. Now, with the discount, motorcycling will grow like never before. But then, younger citizens grow up to become voting adults, and these would translate into votes.

Perhaps our PM is a far-sighted person, who already has his sights on the next general election. That would seem to be the logical conclusion. His oft-quoted words, "Judge me by what I do", have a ring of determination and sincerity to them. And the force of his words -- perhaps emanating from that determination -- is clearly shown by his other speech coming "back to the future" like a "blast from the past".

Let's watch out for the rise in the price of oil!