By Joe Fernandez, Malaysiakini
Comments by Sarawak Headhunter in [red].
This, in the opinion of the chief minister, will help cushion Sarawak from the contagion effects of the financial tsunami and economic crisis currently sweeping the West and Japan.
[In reality, he wants to use this money to cover up the effects of all the financial misdeeds of his government, such as the billions lost in 1st Silicon, Borneo Pulp, ASSAR, etc. as well as to siphon off through CMS, Naim Cendera and other crony companies, knowing very well that this is his last term in office.
Under the current economic situation, these can no longer be covered up using existing resources or funding. The full extent of the damage caused to Sarawak by 28 years of Taib's financial mismanagement, corruption and cover-up now threatens to blow up in his face.]
“Some of the programmes in the 10th Plan can be expedited. Already, Sarawak has a few billion ringgit waiting in the 9th Plan which should allow bringing forward some of the infrastructure works contained in the 10th Plan into the 9th Plan,” said Taib.
[The question is who will really benefit from the bringing forward of these infrastructure works, Sarawak and its people or Taib, his family and cronies?]
The veteran politician presides over one of the poorest states in Malaysia despite its timber, oil and gas wealth.
[This alone says it all. Where has all that wealth gone?]
“I have a feeling that we can counter the effects of recession by having a good plan. That is my hope of how we can make the effects of the economic slowdown to be not as bad for Sarawak,” he said.
[Sarawak Headhunter has a feeling that this is just another of Taib's evil schemes to rob the state of more of its wealth in a final orgy of outright looting. Does he really care about the effects of the economic slowdown on Sarawak, since he may not even be around for much longer?]
The chief minister was voicing out his thoughts when opening the briefing and panel discussion at a forum: “Towards sustained economic growth to counter global economic slowdown”. The event was jointly organised in Kuching yesterday by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department and the Sarawak state government.
Public sector investment
The thrust of Taib’s remarks was that the global economic recession may defy predictions to last for as long as three years and not the widely anticipated 18 months to two years. He admitted that he was painting a worst case scenario.
[The worst case scenario will become even worse once the true extent of the damage done by Taib, his family and cronies is revealed.]
He pointed out that “there’s nothing much we can do (to counter economic recession) except through public sector investment”.
[This of course will benefit none other than himself, his family and cronies. Or being his last term in office, perhaps he may even leave his cronies to drown?]
He conceded that it was inevitable that some sectors like the export sector would bear the brunt of the current economic slowdown “but even in this sector the pain would be temporary as the state government had laid down programmes offering investment opportunities capable of generating sound returns later”.
[What programmes? What about all those programmes which have been generating losses for so long? Will it be a case of more good money being thrown after bad?]
He held up the Sarawak economic corridor, SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy), as the kind of approach that will ensure there is a foundation for sustainable development for the next few years.
[Again the question is who will score from SCORE?]
Investments in SCORE were not only sound but of a long-term nature and not requiring the generation of any revenue until 2013, claimed Taib.
[So in reality, there is no prospect of immediate revenue generation from SCORE (if there are initial investments at all in the first place), let alone any net income for a very long time. Taib, his family and cronies would have cashed out much earlier.]
In the initial stage, the emphasis in SCORE is on construction and laying out the necessary infrastructure for the heavy industries that have been planned.
[So, in spite of the previous comments, the people's money will have to be spent first without any real prospect of returns? Guess who will make money from this construction and infrastructure?]
Decline in tourist arrivals
For SMIs (small and medium-scale industries), he suggested that “what was needed was to calculate what kind of investments they could make, alternative or new, that would not depend so much on the market at least for the next two years”.
“Malaysians banks are still supporting the SMIs and this brings hope to the people,” said Taib.
Overall, Taib noted that Sarawak had suffered “a bit” mainly in the electronic industry, the retail trade, a decline in tourist arrivals and plunging commodity prices.
[The full extent of what Sarawak has suffered will not be known until Taib dies or leaves or is removed from office.]
Still, he described the situation in the state as not so bad when compared with countries like the US, UK, Europe and Japan.
[Of course it doesn't appear to be so bad since he has managed to keep the real damage hidden all these years, while the rural people of Sarawak have been waiting and suffering for so long thinking that Taib and the BN government were really doing all they could to alleviate their poverty.]
He said this is due to Malaysia’s high savings rate and the reserves built up over the years and “this should be taken into consideration to give more hope to the people rather than painting a picture of gloom and doom”.
“The private sector needs to be a bit more imaginative and adventurous, take a bit of calculated risk and try to see the economy within its proper perspective rather than be taken in by the news (pessimistic) on television,” urged the chief minister.
Ostensibly, the object of the half-day forum was “to create awareness among the target groups comprising the public and private sectors, industry players, academicians, NGOs, bankers and SMIs on the country’s current economic situation”.
[Basically, the BN government and Taib are still just playing the denial game and hoping to bluff their way out of the impending disaster. Let us all be aware of this. They will not be so lucky this time. The vultures have come home to roost and it will take more than advance payment of funds from the 10th Malaysia Plan (even if, hard to believe, that is not a ploy to have one last go) to mitigate their deeds and the consequences thereof.]