Friday, October 31, 2014

Jacky Cheung 張學友 [用餘生去愛/The Rest Of Time]


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Follow the World Bank procurement guidelines to prevent corruption and abuse

Follow the World Bank procurement guidelines to prevent corruption and abuse


The World Bank has procurement guidelines which all the borrowers of Bank funding have to follow. The guidelines includes the system of calling tenders. It is a system which has helped to prevent corruption even in the most corrupted countries in the world.

Malaysians are getting fed up with the Government’s failure to reform the tender system as well as to check corruption and abuse which is costing us billions of ringgit annually, and bleeding the country’s finances dry.

Although the Government has appointed a Minister, Paul Low, to take charge of the implementation of transparency in the government, it is clear that he is getting nowhere. Senator Paul Low has claimed that he is highly motivated in promoting and implementing new transparency procedures in order to curb corruption and cronyism. Well, being motivated is one thing but running around in circles and establishing another layer of bureaucratic smoke and mirrors has been the main outcome of the Minister’s more than one year in office.

Implement the World Bank’s Procurement Guidelines

From my experience in business there is a simple way to curb corruption, abuse and leakage in Malaysia. This is by totally abandoning the system of negotiated tenders and by having true transparency but not transparency of the Paul Low or MACC bogus kind.

In its place we should follow the guidelines for open tenders and procurement laid down by the World Bank and other international development bodies.

When my colleagues and I successfully bid for a few of the contracts in the huge Muda Irrigation scheme project financed with World Bank funding in the 1960s, this was the system which we had to follow.

The government engaged a reputable engineering consulting firm which has had experience with similar projects to put up a proposal and to open the project bidding to all contractors to tender. The most important thing to note is that the consulting company responsible for the tender process should be independent and should have no interest whatsoever in the project implementation. This ensures that there is no hanky panky or “insider trading”. After the contract is awarded, the consultant makes sure that the project is completed within cost and scheduled time.

All the contractors must be prequalified based on their technical and financial ability. All contractors must submit tenders conforming to the original design so that the cheapest tender can be selected. If all the contractors are prequalified, the government tender board has only to look at the tendered price.

It is important not to allow anybody from the government to negotiate with any contractor to avoid corruption.

Transparency and accountability requires that all documents on the proposal be placed in the public sphere – not just limited information but detailed and full breakdowns in accordance with international best practices. This will ensure public monitoring and curbing of cost overruns which have plagued all mega projects in the country.

On the tender opening day all contractors and the representatives of press should be invited to witness the opening of bids and their tender prices should be publicly announced.

All contractors have to submit their tender according to the original design provided by the appointed consultant.

A contractor can also submit an alternative design provided that the price is cheaper and the quality is not inferior.

Additional Safeguards

Besides the Bank’s guidelines, I would like to propose the following safeguards since open tenders alone will not ensure a fool proof no-abuse procurement system for mega projects. These additional safeguards are based on my experience as a Chartered Engineer and as a member of the Malaysian Board of Engineers for 3 two year terms

Never invite contractors to submit project proposals for any mega project because each contractor will submit his own planning and design which will be impossible for the tender board to evaluate. You cannot compare the cost of an apple with the cost of an orange, a banana or a pineapple.

A contractor should not be permitted to take on the role of the engineering consultant responsible for design as well as that of the role of a construction contractor responsible for the project implementation as the two roles are of conflicting interest. If the company is permitted to do so, it will lead to public perception of abuse and corruption.

For mega projects, it is cheaper to employ a really qualified consultant to design the whole project rather than to ask each contractor to provide designs for different phases. The latter is false economy and will result in ballooning of costs.

Just Say “No” to Negotiated Tenders

In summary, the whole procedure of prequalifying contractors, calling tenders, evaluating and awarding the contracts must be carried out in a transparent way to avoid any suspicion of corruption. Such a system of open procurement is effective and can bring change even to the most corrupt country.

Why is it not followed and why do we still have the system of negotiated tenders which was established by former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir, and which opened the door to corruption on a grand scale in the country is a question any fool can answer. It can be safely said that hundreds, if not thousands of billions of ringgit have been lost because of this system of negotiated tenders and its associated abuse and cronyism.

Pakatan State Governments Must Also Say “No”

It is important for the public to ask this question not only for federal government projects but also for state initiated projects of the Pakatan governments. Take for example the recent news report that the construction giant Gamuda Bhd is the favourite to land the job as the project development partner (PDP) to oversee the implementation of key components of the integrated transportation plan on the island of Penang. Firstly, it is clear that Gamuda and all the other companies reported to be in the running for the massive multi-billion dollar project do not have any experience to be in the position of the overall design consultant.

They all are not engineering consultants. They all are construction contractors. Gamuda might have constructed the tunnel in Kuala Lumpur but they did not design it.

Secondly, CIMB Research has found it “pleasantly surprising” that the Penang state government opted for the Project Development Partner (PDP) structure similar to that of the Klang Valley MRT which has been heavily criticised for cronyism and abuse. From the rakyat’s experience, what is “pleasantly surprising” to contractors will definitely be unpleasant and disastrous for the public.

Alarm bells must be raised and concern expressed if such projects are given out even if supposedly on an improved or modified system of negotiated tender. Such a system has been defended by those in power to be more accountable or transparent and free from abuse or corruption. This is patently false.

Conclusion

Nothing less than a truly open, fully transparent and fully accountable tender system and process is, in my opinion, going to work if Malaysia is to check corruption and abuse.

If the Najib administration and Minister Paul Low, and the Pakatan state governments, really want to curb corruption and ensure good governance, accountability and transparency, they should stop farting around. The system to help bring it about is easily available – just follow what I have provided here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

MALAYSIA'S 10 HIGHEST PAYING JOBS!!! from Iris lee

Malaysia’s 10 highest paying jobs



By: Iris Lee, Malaysia
Published: 4 hours 33 min ago
Malaysia – I always wanted to be pilot when I was a kid, and after seeing this list, I regret not pursuing my dream.
   
If you are rethinking your career, here is where the big bucks are according to SalaryExplorer.com.
1) Pilot
A pilot earns RM35,000 on average per month, on top of travelling around the world.


2) Senior accountant
You probably spend the extra off-work hours crunching numbers to manage your huge paycheck of RM30,000 a month.

 
3) Materials engineer
A materials engineer earns about RM28,000 a month. That’s a lot for just testing materials used to create products.

 
4) Government affairs director
Being in the public sector not only gives you great benefits, but also a high salary at RM27,000 a month.

5) Team Leader in oil & gas, energy or mining industry
You will be compensated for being in a high-risk job, with team leaders in these industries earning about RM26,500 a month.

6) Recruiting manager
Bring in human resources, particularly in recruiting, can rake in the big bucks. The average pay for a recruiting manager stands at around RM25,500 a month.










7) Regional manager in banking
The banking industry has always been known for its perks. A regional manager for any bank in Malaysia can earn an average of RM25,000 a month.
Appeard in HRSG Mar 10
8) Chief operating officer
A COO of a company earns an average of RM24,722 a month.
9) Regional director
Being the regional director is the next best thing after COO, as this position rakes in about RM24,583 a month.
10) Geotechnical engineer
And last but not least, traipsing around in dirt as a geotechnical engineer brings in about RM22,833 a month.
The list above is generated through information submitted by SalaryExplorer.com users and also a database of salary information gathered from requirement agencies, companies and employers.
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

CIMB shares stumble, speculation of EPF’s next move rife

CIMB shares stumble, speculation of EPF’s next move rife

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/business/article/cimb-shares-stumble-speculation-of-key-shareholders-next-move-rife#sthash.RI9oxBTq.dpuf

Shares of Malaysia's second-biggest bank CIMB Group Holdings Bhd dropped today after local media reported that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), a key CIMB shareholder, may be forced to cut its stake to push through a planned merger.
Analysts say the stock market views the merger of CIMB, RHB Capital Bhd and Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) as a negative for CIMB, which they fear would be valued too cheaply. The amalgamation of the lenders would create Malaysia's largest bank which financial sources have said could have a market value of US$22 billion (RM72 billion).
CIMB could be valued as high as two times book value based on its growth potential, regional presence and asset quality, but the current deal values CIMB at only 1.7 times book value, according to the analysts. Any sign that the merger may go through would weigh on CIMB's stock, they say.
The stock exchange Bursa Malaysia barred the EPF from voting in the proposed merger because the state pension fund is a major shareholder in all of the banks, according to filings on Tuesday. The EPF, which bankers say is in favour of the merger, owns about 14.5% of CIMB, 41% of RHB and 65% of MBSB.
Local media reported that the EPF may reduce its stake in CIMB, thereby removing the issue of the fund's conflict of interest in the merger.
"There is a lot of speculation in the Malaysian press about what EPF will do next. A lot of that is not correct," said a source close to the merger talks, adding that at this stage, the EPF is unlikely to sell out of CIMB.
Kelvin Ong, a banking analyst at Kuala Lumpur-based MIDF Research, told Reuters that it would not be suitable for the EPF to circumvent the bourse's ban, referring to local media reports.
As of 0242 GMT, shares in CIMB fell 0.78%, RHB dropped 0.35%, while MBSB declined 1.92%. The benchmark stock index rose 0.51%.
The move by the stock exchange has given other investors in the banks more clout and thrown some doubt on the deal's prospects.
Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments and OSK Holdings Bhd, the second and third-largest shareholders in RHB, will now have a bigger say in the deal.
Both investors would see their combined voting power in the lender increase to 53% from 31% now that the EPF is barred from voting.
The proposal is for CIMB to enter into a share swap deal with RHB, the country's fourth-biggest lender. CIMB shareholders would own 70% of the merged entity and RHB shareholders would own the rest.
In tandem, the Islamic banking arms of CIMB and RHB would then acquire MBSB to form a mega Islamic bank.
"The deal is relatively in favour to the shareholders of RHB, and not CIMB," Pong Teng Siew, head of research at Kuala Lumpur based Inter-Pacific Research, told Reuters. "Although it sounds like RHB is taking over CIMB, it is actually CIMB buying their assets, and at a premium."
The three banks said they were aiming to sign a agreement in early 2015 and hoped to complete the deal mid-year. – Reuters, October 23, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/business/article/cimb-shares-stumble-speculation-of-key-shareholders-next-move-rife#sthash.RI9oxBTq.dpuf

Monday, October 20, 2014

EBOLA outbreak: WHO missed 'the disaster of our time' claimed aid agencies

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/ebola-outbreak-who-missed-the-disaster-of-our-times-say-aid-agencies-9804285.html

EBOLA outbreak: WHO missed 'the disaster of our time' claimed aid agencies

After the shock of Ebola comes inevitable blame and recrimination. This weekend questions are being asked about who is to blame for a collective failure to recognise and respond to what was, and remains, West Africa's tragedy.

At the centre of the growing outrage is the World Health Organisation (WHO) which, as the UN's health agency, is charged with "providing leadership" world health matters.

Aid agencies, such as Oxfam yesterday, are warning that Ebola will become the "disaster of our time". It is being compared with the HIV/Aids epidemic, having already accounted for more than 4,500 confirmed deaths, with the true mortality toll estimated by some at more than 12,000.

The voices of concern were not always so strong. In April, the health charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned that the outbreak, which had emerged a month before, was unprecedented. Geneva-based WHO, which had declared a global pandemic of swine flu in 2009 that, in fact, caused fewer deaths than seasonal flu, denied this, saying that there were only sporadic cases within a limited geographical area.

One of the organisation's communications officers, Gregory Härtl, warned MSF not to "exaggerate" Ebola's effects. He later went further, questioning the sense of imposing travel bans in the three affected countries. "You want to disrupt the economic life of a country, a region becuz [sic] of 130 suspect and confirmed cases? #Ebola," he tweeted.

It is now known that the Ebola outbreak began in December, but the first cases were reported only in March. WHO's regional office in Africa stands accused of failing to properly monitor the outbreak, perhaps explaining the three-month delay in identifying the virus that was killing Guineans.

WHO waited until August before declaring a public health emergency, outlining a "road map" to tackle the disease. "Huge questions remain about who will implement the elements in the plan," responded MSF's director of operations, Brice de la Vigne, at the time.


According to an internal WHO document that emerged on Friday, experts should have realised that traditional containment methods would not stop the disease. "Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall," the WHO report, obtained by Associated Press (AP), noted. "A perfect storm was brewing, ready to burst open in full force."

The agency's bureaucracy was part of the problem, the report found. Country office heads were "politically motivated appointments" made by its regional director for Africa, Luis Sambo, who did not answer to WHO's chief, Margaret Chan.

In the earlier stages of the outbreak, messages from Dr Sambo's office were sometimes out of step with Geneva's party line. His tenure finishes at the end of this year.

The African WHO office declared Ebola to be "pretty much contained" in Senegal and Nigeria on 22 September, a claim not backed up by Dr Chan's office, which declared Senegal to be Ebola-free only on Friday and has yet to say the same about Nigeria.

The leaked document also said that one of Dr Chan's senior officials, Bruce Aylward, had warned her by email that some of WHO's partners felt it was "compromising rather than aiding" the Ebola response and that "none of the news about WHO's performance is good".

WHO said that the report obtained by AP was a working document. "WHO will not do interviews or explain details on this document until it is completed," it said in a statement yesterday. "WHO believes in transparency and accountability and will release this review when it is fact-checked. For now, WHO's focus is to obtain the resources needed to successfully fight this Ebola outbreak."

It added: "A full review and analysis of global responses to this, the largest-ever Ebola outbreak in history, will be completed and made public once the outbreak is under control. We are a public health organisation and our focus right now must be to stop this outbreak and save lives."

Meanwhile, the Canadian government has said it will ship 800 vials of its experimental Ebola vaccine to WHO in Geneva from tomorrow.

WHO, in consultation with health authorities in the countries most affected by the outbreak, will decide how the vaccine, which is undergoing clinical trials at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the US will be distributed and used, the Public Health Agency of Canada said.

In April, as the Ebola outbreak began to spread in Guinea, little went smoothly. WHO's office there, according to the leaked report, was accused of not helping experts get visas to that country. Some $500,000 (£311,000) in aid was said to have been held up by red tape.

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday yesterday, one aid worker described WHO's approach as "institutional arse-covering".

"There are definitely going to be recriminations and soul searching and an investigation into how this went so wrong," the worker said.

Vickie Hawkins, director of MSF UK, was more guarded. "We are frustrated and angry that the global response to this outbreak has been so slow and inadequate," she said yesterday. "For months, we have been pleading for more help and watching the situation deteriorate. When the outbreak is under control, we must reflect on how national and global health systems can have failed quite so badly. We at MSF will also look at our own operations and what we could have done and said differently."

She added: "Right now, our main concerns are not about what went wrong at the beginning, but what is still going wrong today. There are still very significant gaps in the field in all three countries. The job ahead of us is very large and difficult, but we simply cannot afford to fail."

That job was continued yesterday as another UN agency, the World Food Programme, delivered emergency food rations to 265,000 people, many of them quarantined in Sierra Leone, where 1,200 people have so far died.

That came as the country's president, Ernest Bai Koroma, announced a shake-up of the body in charge of fighting Ebola . A new National Ebola Response Centre replaced the previous body, the National Operations Centre, with "immediate effect".

Almost 4,500 miles away, another president, Barack Obama, urged Americans to remember that Ebola, although a global concern, was a West African tragedy. He ruled out a travel ban on people arriving from the three worst-hit countries. "We can't just cut ourselves off from West Africa," he said. "This is a serious disease, but we can't give in to hysteria or fear."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Broad sell-off on Bursa Malaysia -- The Star

I consider myself very daring at this point of time still trade the stocks.Oh, No! I am actually changing counter and fighting together with our Mr ONG!

 

Broad sell-off on Bursa Malaysia

Friday, 17 October 2014
 
 
KUALA LUMPUR: Fund selling of index-linked stocks on Bursa Malaysia saw nearly 20 points erased from the FBM KLCI while the broader market came under pressure with 1,001 counters in the red.
 
The selling pressure saw the KLCI closing down 19.07 points or 1.07% to 1,767.77 yesterday – the lowest since Sept 19 and it is down 5.31% year-to-date.
 
Declining counters beat advancers 15 to one or 1,001 to 64, reflecting the cautious market sentiment.
At press time, key European markets were in the red while regional markets posted losses of between 0.25% and 2.22% with Japan’s Nikkei 225 the worst performer.
 
Reuters reported the Euro STOXX 50 Volatility Index surged to 35.5 yesterday, its highest level since mid-2012, signalling a sharp rise in risk aversion on the back of worries over the strength of the global economy.
Malaysia’s stock market, which had been underpinned by oil and gas stocks, came under pressure also as weaker global growth saw oil prices sliding. At 5pm, US light crude oil fell US$1.28 to US$80.50 and Brent lost 62 cents to US$83.16.
 
Oil and gas heavyweight SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd fell 25 sen to RM3.16 in active trade.
The double whammy was also from the weaker ringgit, which was trading at 3.2835, the lowest since April 2014.
 
Insurers and banks were among the major losers. Allianz Malaysia Bhd fell 46 sen to RM10.84 and Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd was down 42 sen to RM11.38. CIMB Group Bhd fell 29 sen to RM6.19, RHB Capital Bhd 15 sen lower at RM8.36 and Malayan Banking Bhd lost 13 sen to RM9.45.
 
BIMB Securities Research, had in its strategy report, said foreign fund flows had been quite erratic this year purely dictated by the expectations in the United States.
 
“After some nominal movements during the June/August period, foreign outflow gathered in September when a whopping RM1.5bil exited the local bourse.
 
“At time of writing, foreign outflow remains evident of around RM300mil thus ramping up total net outflows to RM3.5bil year-to-date. Looking ahead, we reckon foreign fund outflows to persist as there is still an ample amount of short term ones in the local bourse estimated to a tune of RM16bil,” it said.
 
BIMB Research said the recent market selldown did not bode well for the local market as most investors preferred to wait and see.
 
“Meanwhile, we believe any absence of window dressing activity during the quarter may see the KLCI ending 2014 on a flat note,” it said, adding its fair valuation for the KLCI was 1,830.
 
The research house believed there could be some year-end buying hence its liquidity induced target for 2014 at 1,900.
 
“As for 2015, we have a preliminary target of 1,960 premised on 16.5 times price-to-earnings and a 10% earnings growth,” it said.
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2015 Budget: People Economy -- from KENABGA

2015 Budget: People Economy
Muted To Equity Market
By Chan Ken Yew / kychan@kenanga.com.my

2015 Budget. Prime Minister announced the 2015 Budget last Friday (10/10/14). We understand
that this budget is the final budget to complete the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) and serves as basis
for planning and preparation of programmes and projects under the forthcoming 11th Malaysia
Plan (11MP) that will be launched in May 2015. In this Budget, seven (7) main strategies were
highlighted. These strategies are (i) strengthening economic growth, (ii) enhancing fiscal
governance, (iii) developing human capital & entrepreneurship, (iv) advancing bumiputera agenda,
(v) upholding role of women, (vi) developing national youth transformation programme and (vii)
prioritising well-being of the Rakyat. The Budget has allocated a total of RM273.9b. Out of which,
RM223.4b is set for operating expenditure, RM48.5b is prepared for development and RM2.0b is
served as contingency fund. In the Budget, corporate and personal income tax cuts were
announced and additional items that exempt from Goods & Services tax (GST) were clarified. It
was announced that a new mechanism to provide petro subsidies to be developed as well.
Within expectations, hence muted to equity market. In a nutshell, we believe that this Budget announcement springs no surprises on the local equity market. This is because most of the “goodies” have no significant impact to corporate earnings.
Besides, the “goodies” for the Rakyat may also be neutralised by the implementation of GST in early-2Q15. Furthermore, both tax cuts had also been announced in the 2014 Budget and the positive impact could have factored into analysts’ forecasts earlier. Thus far, we maintain our FY14E and FY15F net earnings growth rates of 4.9% and 11.3% respectively.
We also do not foresee strong inflow of foreign capital in the near-term, as the prospect of stronger sovereign rating inline with the continued improving fiscal deficit could have largely priced in as well. As for impacts to various sectors (see Appendix for details), we believe the Budget is generally NEUTRAL to most of the sectors.

However, we do see some sectors with positive tone. These sectors are: (i) Building Materials, (ii) Construction, (iii) Gloves, (iv) Plastic Packaging, and (v) Semicon and Telco. Both building materials and construction sectors are believed to be beneficiaries from a number of major infrastructure projects including: (i) 4 new expressways, (ii) upgrade of east coast railway line and (iii) expansions of MRT & LRT light rail services. Gloves, packaging and semicon players are expected to benefit from an automation capital allowance of 200% that will be provided on the 1st RM4m expenditure incurred within the period from 2015 to 2017. Telco, on the other hand, is expected to benefit from the High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) project and the building of 1,000 telecommunication towers as well as the laying of undersea cables.

On the contrary, against market expectations, we did not see much catalyst for the property sector. The announced Rakyat-friendly measures such as: (i) Youth Housing Scheme, (ii) PR1MA housing, and (iiI) People Housing Programme, are likely to have no meaningful impact to developers under our coverage. Recall that the market was expecting the relaxation of DIBS (Developer Interest Bearing Scheme) for 1st home buyers to purchase affordable housing and a review of RPGT (Real Property Gain Tax).
All in all, 2015 Budget is a non-event to the local equity market. We believe the direction of local equity hinges on external uncertainties and volatilities going forward. Thus far, FBMKLCI declined by 2.0% since end-September 2014 inline with the decline of 2.9% in Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Having said that, our view and year-end target of 1,910 remains unchanged. We believe the domestic market will still be supported by the strong domestic liquidity position and the favourable seasonal pattern. Besides, as FBMKLCI is traded at 7% discount to its consensus target price of 1,945, the downside could be limited. Based on the track records between FBMKLCI and its consensus target, we believe any dips below 1,830 should serve as “Buying On Weakness” (B.O.W.) opportunities.

Apart from YTD underperformers / laggards, we still like BARAKAH (OP, TP: RM1.74), COASTAL (OP, TP: RM5.94), GAMUDA (OP, TP: RM5.52), KSL (TB, TP: RM6.63), MUHIBAH (OP, TP: RM3.55), SIME, (OP, TP: RM10.10), SUPERMX (OP, TP: RM3.23) and VS (TB, TP: RM3.16). Our other 2 Top Picks - MBSB (OP, TP: RM2.65) and RHBCAP (OP, TP: RM10.00) – have performed well after the recently announced CIMB-MBSB-RHBCAP merger structure. As such, we are replacing these 2 Top Picks with MPI (OP, TP: RM6.72) and PMETAL (OP, TP: RM8.87).
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