Wednesday, August 30, 2006

To kill a snake, smash it's head

"To kill a snake, smash it's head!!!"

"Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves."
-Israeli Prime Minister Menechem Begin

"The body of a Jewish person," Schneerson bragged, "is of a totally different quality from the body of members of all other nations of the world. Bodies of the Gentiles are in vain. An even greater difference is in regard to the soul...A non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness."
-Rabbi Mendel Schneerson

"One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."
~ Rabbi Ya'acov Perin in his eulogy at the funeral of Dr. Baruch Goldstein
(Cited in the New York Times, 1994-02-28)

"Israeli lives are worth more than Palestinian ones."
Ehud Olmert 2006-06-23

"There is no such thing as a Palestinian people... It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist."
Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel,
Statement to The Sunday Times, 1969-06-15

"How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to."
Golda Meir
(quoted in Chapter 13 of The Zionist Connection II: What Price Peace by Alfred Lilienthal )

snake = israel
head of snake=US ...

Tea or coffee?

Enjoy the Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university lecturer.

Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you towant only the best for yourselves but that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups."

"Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change."

"Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it."


"tea or coffee sir?"

" i prefer 'or'. tq "

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Lesson From Ireland

The Lessons From Ireland
M. Bakri Musa


In the movie “Titanic,” the refined English heroine was regally ensconced in her luxurious suite on the upper deck, while the hero, an uncouth Irish lad, was confined to the cramped below deck quarters, and presumably also downwind.

It is a reflection of how far the Irish have come that such stereotypical portrayals did not elicit any protest. When you have had two personalities with Irish heritage (Kennedy and Reagan) leading the most powerful nation in the world, and with Ireland fast surpassing
Britain in economic performance, such caricatures elicit mirth rather than anger.

During the era of the Titanic, Ireland was synonymous with poverty and destitution. Ireland then was a never-ending source of poor desperate immigrants to America and elsewhere. There were more Irish who left than who stayed behind. In America, signs like “No Irish Need Apply!” were everywhere, and the stereotypical drunk, irresponsible,
crime-prone and perpetually out-of-work father referred to the Irish, not to Blacks.

Today, in addition to the outstanding achievements of individual Irish and those of Irish descent, Ireland is now the envy of Western Europe and the world.

There is a lesson here for Malaysia, Malays specifically.

Malaysia of Today, Ireland of Yore

In my book, Malaysia in the Era of Globalization, I remarked how eerily the Malaysia of today resembles the Ireland of the 1950s. Malays today, like the Irish then, are in the tight clutches of religion (Islam for Malays, Catholicism for the Irish). Young Malays flock to the madrasahs to study Arabic, hadith and revealed knowledge, instead of English,
science and mathematics. The Irish then fled to the convents and monasteries to recite their rosaries and memorize the catechism. Malays today are in the psychological grips of their ulamas and ustazes, just as were the Irish with their bishops and priests.

The Irish then were consumed with trying to resurrect their dead language, Gaelic. Malays today are obsessed with making sure that their young do not study any other language but Malay. Learning another language, in particular English, is seen as an expression of hatred for one’s own.

In business, the major enterprises in Malaysia today are in the hands of the Chinese minority, and politics with the Malays. In Ireland then, the major businesses were in English hands while the Irish were consumed with republican politics and reunification. With Irish education tightly under Church control and consumed with religious instructions, the leading intellectual centers were naturally the Protestant-affiliated universities like Trinity College.

In Malaysia, the schools favored by Malays are the religious and national schools with their heavy emphasis on religion, while non-Malays choose vernacular schools and private English language colleges with their emphasis on science, technology, and other secular subjects.

The Quiet Revolution

It took one man, Sean Lemass, Prime Minister from 1959-66, to initiate and lead the quiet revolution in Ireland. He began by clipping the powers and influences of the Catholic Church by stripping its control over education and social policies. Freed from the suffocating control of the Church, the Irish could abandon their inferior Catholic schools and colleges to attend the much superior English institutions without fear that they would be (or seen as) committing a sin. Likewise, they could use contraceptives without fear of eternal damnation, or more practically, of being condemned by their priests and bishops.

His strategy was remarkably simple and effective. Knowing the formidable power of the Church and its establishment however, that was an extremely bold and courageous move. Lemass made education free and its curriculum relevant and not tied to religion. Despite the Irish traditional antipathy towards things English, he made English, not
Gaelic, the language of Ireland.

At first glance Abdullah Badawi would be the ideal leader to take on the Islamic establishment, just as it took a staunchly conservative President like Nixon to make overtures to and visit China. With his religious credentials and personal piety, Abdullah would be unassailable to the Islamists. Unfortunately, he chose not to capitalize on those considerable personal assets. Instead he pursued a futile battle with the Islamists in trying to prove who represents “pure” Islam. The Islamists are openly ridiculing his Islam Hadhari. They accuse him of starting a new sect, a particularly damaging charge.

Instead of the silly Islam Hadhari, Abdullah would be better off learning from the Irish on how best to prepare Malaysians to meet the challenges of and benefit from the opportunities afforded by globalization.

Learning From the Irish

The lesson from Ireland is straightforward. Foremost, curtail if not remove the influence of the religious establishment on education and social policies. Before my Muslim readers hurl epithets at me or accuse me of blasphemy, read again what I wrote. Get rid of the influence of the religious establishment, not of religion.

Islam is a great faith; its ideals are also the ideals of mankind. Islam survived the Chinese and Soviet communism; it will survive without the Malaysian government. Islam survives indeed thrives in America despite its highly secular environment.

Islam should be in our heart, not in the government bureaucracy.

Away from the clutches of the religious establishment we can then make our schools emphasize English, the sciences, and mathematics. Without the authoritarian teaching and rote memorization and indoctrination that passes for education in religious schools, we can teach our students to think for themselves – the most critical skills needed in this information age.

Like the Irish, we should embrace globalization and free enterprise. Attract foreign investments by lowering corporate taxes, and make laws pertaining to corporations simple and transparent. These global companies bring much needed investments as well as management and technological expertise that would diffuse locally. Open up the economy and have a sensible fiscal policy that would invest in airports, roads and schools, not on showy mega projects like headquarters for civil servants and ostentatious palaces. Invest in our people, not in company shares.

The lessons from Ireland are simple; the challenge is with their execution. There is no need for a “mental revolution” or for Malays to be kurang ajar (uncouth). If we need to have a revolution, let it be like the Irish Quiet Revolution, or better yet, our very own that is elegantly silent.

It took nearly fifty years for Ireland to achieve its present prosperity following the reforms Lemass initiated in the 1950s. If a Malaysian Lemass were to appear today, we could look forward to the 2050s before Malaysia – in particular Malays – could be considered developed.

The new Malay Dilemma

The New Malay Dilemma

By Mahathir Mohamad
Little Speck

By former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (reproduced) on Malays remaining behind others despite privileges.

The Malays are among the few people whose race is legally defined. Thus, the Malaysian Constitution states that a Malay is one who habitually speaks Malay, professes the religion of Islam and practises Malay customs.

There is nothing said about the definitive culture of the Malays. It follows that changes in culture do not make a Malay person a non-Malay.

Culture is made up largely of the value systems accepted, even if not actually practiced by a people or a race. Observations have shown that the culture of a people determines whether they are successful or they fail...Europeans, Asians, Africans and American Indians can all be successful and can all fail. It is, therefore, not the race or ethnicity which determines success. It is the culture.

When I wrote The Malay Dilemma in the late 60s, I had assumed that all the Malays lacked the opportunities to develop and become successful.They lacked opportunities for educating themselves, opportunities to earn enough to go into business, opportunities to train in the required vocation, opportunities to obtain the necessary funding, licences and premises.
If these opportunities could be made available to them, then they would succeed...

.... But today, the attitude has changed. Getting scholarships and places in the universities at home and abroad is considered a matter of right and is not valued any more.
Indeed, those who get these educational opportunities for some unknown reason seem to dislike the very people who created these opportunities.

Worse still, they don't seem to appreciate the opportunities that they get.They become more interested in other things, politics in particular, to the detriment of their studies.
In business, the vast majority regarded the opportunities given them as something to be exploited for the quickest return...

They learn nothing about business and become even less capable at doing business and earning an income from their activities.

They become mere sleeping partners and at times not even that. Having sold, they no longer have anything to do with the business. They would go to the government for more licences, permits, shares, etc...

.... Why has this thing happened? The answer lies in the culture of the Malays. They are laid-back and prone to take the easy way out. And the easy way out is to sell off whatever they get and ask for more. This is their culture.

Working hard, taking risks and being patient is not a part of their culture. It should be remembered that in the past the Malays were not prepared to take up the jobs created by the colonial powers in their effort to exploit the country.

Because the Malays were not prepared to work in rubber estates and the mines, the Indians and Chinese were brought in. At one time, the migrants outnumbered the Malays.
Had they continued to outnumber the Malays, independent Malaya would be like independent Singapore.

But the Malays have apparently learnt nothing from the near loss of their country in the past.
Today, they are still unwilling to work and foreign workers are again flooding the country. And because they are not equipping themselves with the necessary education and skills, they have continued to depend on others.

Their political dominance will protect them for a time. But that dominance is fading very fast as they quarrel among themselves and break up into small ineffective groups. Their numerical superiority means less today than at the time of Independence...

... The Malays, together with the other Bumiputeras, make up 60 per cent of the country's population. But in terms of their political clout, it is now much less than 60 per cent.
They are now more dependent on non-Malay support, both the government party and the opposition.

Economically, of course, they have less than half the 30-per-cent share that has been allocated to them. If we discount the non-Malay contribution to the nation's economy, Malaysia would be not much better than some of the African developing countries.

To succeed, the Malays must change their culture. They must look towards work as a reward in itself. They must regard what they achieve through work as the true reward.
There should be some financial reward but this must not outweigh the satisfaction obtained from the result of their work...

... Changing culture is far more difficult than changing the policies of government. It is easy enough to propose affirmative action but it is not easy to implement it.

The recipients must have the right attitude if the results are going to be obtained...
.. Unfortunately, their view is that their crutches are symbols of their superior status in the country. The sad thing is that they are not even using the crutches properly. As a result, they gain nothing or very little from the availability of these aids...

... So what is the new Malay dilemma? Their old dilemma was whether they should distort the picture a little in order to help themselves.
The new dilemma is whether they should or should not do away with the crutches that they have got used to, which in fact they have become proud of.

There is a minority of Malays who are confident enough to think of doing away with the crutches, albeit gradually. But they are a very small minority.
Their numbers are not going to increase any time soon. They are generally regarded as traitors to the Malay race...

... There will be a host of protests over this generalisation about Malay attitudes. We read almost every day about blind Malay people and other handicapped Malays graduating with university degrees or driving cars or doing all kinds of work.

This does not prove that the generalisation that I make is wrong. These are exceptions. They only prove that if the right attitude or culture is adopted, even the handicapped can succeed.
The dilemma faced by those few who want to build a strong, resilient and independent Malay race without crutches is that they are most likely to end up becoming unpopular and losing the ability to influence the changes in the culture and the value system which are necessary.
It seems that they should not try and yet they know that without the cultural changes, the Malays are going to fail.

pLuto oo Pluto..

Astronomers strip Pluto of its status as a planetBy Alan Crosby

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Pluto was stripped of its status as a planet on Thursday when astronomers from around the world redefined it as a "dwarf planet," leaving just eight major planets in the solar system.

With one vote, toys and models of the solar system became instantly obsolete, forcing teachers and publishers to scramble to update textbooks and lessons used in classrooms for decades.
Richard Binzel, a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), votes during the closing session of IAU's 26th General Assembly in Prague August 24, 2006. Pluto was stripped of its status as a planet on Thursday when astronomers from around the world redefined it as a "dwarf planet". (REUTERS/David W Cerny)"Pluto is dead," Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology bluntly told reporters on a teleconference.

Discovered in 1930 by the American Clyde Tombaugh, the icy rock of Pluto has traditionally been considered the ninth planet, farthest from the sun in the solar system.
However, the definition of a planet, approved after a heated debate among 2,500 scientists from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) meeting in Prague, drew a clear distinction between Pluto and the other eight planets.

The need to define what is a planet was driven by technological advances enabling astronomers to look further into space and measure more precisely the size of celestial bodies.
"This is all about the advancement of science changing our thinking as we get more information," said Richard Binzel, professor of Planetary Sciences at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the planet definition committee.

"The significance is that new discoveries and new science have told us that there is something different about Pluto from the other eight planets and as science learns more information, we get new results and new considerations."

Brown added impetus to the decades-old debate on the definition of a planet when he discovered UB313 in 2003. Xena, as it is nicknamed, is larger than Pluto, instantly creating a buzz over whether a new planet had been discovered.

The scientists agreed that, to be called a planet, a celestial body must be in orbit around a star while not itself being a star.

It must be large enough in mass for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape and have cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.

Pluto was disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps Neptune's. Xena also does not make the grade of being a planet, and will also be known as a dwarf planet.

"It's an issue mainly for the public, not really for scientists. Some people may be upset, but we've long regarded it (Pluto) as a minor planet," said Richard H. Miller of the University of Chicago.

Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, overseer of science investigations on NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto, called the reclassification rash and illogical. "I think people are going to consider Pluto a planet regardless," he said.

Officials at the American Museum of Natural History in New York had been at the vanguard of the movement to demote Pluto and were feeling vindicated on Thursday.

"We had enormous numbers of telephone calls and I would say things that verged on hate mail from second-graders -- very angry children who said, 'What have you done? This is the cutest, most Disney-esque of the planets. How could you possibly demote it?'" said Michael Shara, the museum's astrophysics curator.

While the museum staff was celebrating, Shara said Pluto's new status was more a victory for the astronomical community because it now had a "greatly increased understanding of what a planet is."

The agreed-upon definition -- the first time the IAU has tried to define scientifically what a planet is -- comes in sharp contrast to the draft sent around to delegates at the General Assembly last week.

That document, which kept Pluto as a planet and would have added three others, touched off a revolt that grew daily. Some delegates appeared downright hostile to the notion.
Tombaugh's widow Patricia said the discoverer, like any good scientist, would have accepted the demotion as inevitable.

"Clyde would have said, 'Science is a progressive thing and if you're going to be a scientist and put your neck out, you're apt to have it bitten upon,'" the 94-year-old said from her home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

She added that a small amount of her husband's ashes were now on a spacecraft bound for Pluto.

The new definition creates a second category called "dwarf planets," as well as a third category for all other objects, except satellites, known as small solar system bodies.

From now on -- or 'at least for the time being' joked one delegate -- traditional planets will be restricted to eight: Mercury, Venus. Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
(additional reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Boston, Bill Trott in Washington and Michelle Nichols in New York)

Let's us count, how long will Malaysian education ministry change the syllybus..? Ngah ngah ngah

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Now it's ridiculous!!!

Some 84 movie stars, film industry members sign statement condemning Hizbullah, Hamas activities in Middle EastYitzhak Benhorin.

WASHINGTON - Heads of the film industry in Hollywood and prominent movie stars have signed a statement blaming Hamas and
Hizbullah for terror activities in the Middle East, the war in Lebanon, and for harming innocents.

Some 84 senior film industry members signed the statement, published in the Hollywood Reporter newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, and the Variety newspaper.

Among the signatories: Sylvester Stallone, James Woods, Bruce Willis, director Ridley Scott, tennis player Serena Williams, Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, William Hurt, Josh Malina, Kelly Preston, Danny DeVito, Don Johnson, and media tycoon Rupert Murdock.

Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles has been active since the start of fighting with an aim of drafting Hollywood stars to back Israel. During the war, Ehud Danoch, the consul general, initiated a mission aimed at enlisting support for Israel in Hollywood. The team was comprised of Israeli directors and producers in Hollywood: Arnon Milchan, David Matalon, Avi Arad, Danny Dimbort and Avi Lerner.

'Stop terror at any price'

The statement said that if terror around the world is not stopped, chaos will rule and innocents will continue to die. The statement called for terror to be stopped at any price.

Consul General Danoch is continuing with his PR activities, and on Wednesday night he briefed the heads of the William Morris agency on the recent events in Lebanon.

Actor Adam Sandler was present at one of the many briefings the consul general gave this week. At the end of the briefing, Sandler announced that he would personally donate USD 100,000 to the children of the north and south, and about 400 Playstation games purchased by the actor are expected to be transferred to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem in the coming days.

I'm not a patriot

I like this . Essentially, a true Malaysian does not have to shout out I LOVE MALAYSIA. but if he sincerely respects and has faith in the country, his actions can tell.
By Ahmad Hafidz Baharom Alam Shah :

I do not classify myself as a patriot to my country.
I'm cheap.
I won't buy a Malaysian flag.
Instead, I'll wait till the toll plaza's start handing them out for free.
I can save cash that way for the extra petrol costs my government has imposed on me.

I also don't put flags up on my car.
I don't want to leave the flag out in the rain, that might damage it.
I won't fly my flag up for anentire month, because that will make it dirty.
I also won't let it touch the ground, unlike some of the flags the local council here inShah Alam has allowed to fall.
I will also not let the flag get torn bysimply leaving it out on my car.
I have too much respect for it.

I will not name my pet cat 'Merdeka', because all it does is eat,sleep, and play around.
If I would name a creature 'Merdeka', it would be for a buffalo used in the paddy fields, not afraid to get dirty, work hard, for a minimal cost, and never complain.
Since, apparently, that is what our government wants us to be.

I am not a patriot because I don't bake 'Merdeka' day cookies,
Or create 'Merdeka' day rendang and pulut, or bake a 'Jalur Gemilang' cake.
Besides, people in Johor need the excess sugar used in these anyways.

I am not a patriot because I haven't registered my phone with my vendor,
which I'm supposed to do,
so that they can track me down in case I say something bad about my government,
or about a national icon who is about to get married,
or about another national icon who recently called off his wedding.

I am not a patriot because I didn't march up to KLCC to protest what is happening in Lebanon,
and did not get my memorandum delivered to Ms. Rice,
and because I did not say that her presence here was not welcome.

I am not a patriot because my birthday is not on August 31st,
nor was it in 1957,
nor was I even born yet at that time,
nor do I know any local war heroes who fought the communists.
So that means I'll never get media coverage,
even though I have deep respect to those who lived and suffered for my freedoms,
such as the KMM,
which once published a newspaper to allow the views of the Malay people to be heard.Nowadays, I think those very people are turning in their graves after hearing people trying to take that away from us.

I am not a patriot because I like going out at night to listen to independent rock bands that sing in English.
Because I spend my nights out till 5 am sometimes,
sitting at a mamak stall with friends and family discussing our lives, and problems.
I also buy pirated DVDs and download music,
because I think TM is doing a better job than our music and film industry in promoting their product.
The only Malaysian album I ever bought was by Siti Nurhaliza.
And the only other Malaysian mainstream artist I have respect for is Jac Victor.

I am not a patriot because I will not go to a Merdeka Day parade,where people double park,
or charge RM5 for a parking spot,
when I can watch it on national TV,
with the best camera angles taken by professionals with high class equipment to give me the best seat in town.
It also avoids me from tripping over a kid,
or losing a son or daughter in the crowd,
or accidentally pushing down another person andhave that person cursing and shouting about it.

I am not considered a patriot because I speak out in this blog
whenever I see my leaders doing something I never thoughtrational thinking adults could ever do,
such as calling each othernames in Parliament,
"closing one eye",
arguing over a bridge,teargassing an ex-leader,
spreading rumours of a certain someonegetting married to a certain celebrity and even publishing a flierwith 40 reasons why a person cannot be PM.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a patriot. Are you?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Badawi Bright Vision For Malaysia

Badawi's Bright Vision for Malaysia

AUGUST 15, 2006

The Asian nation's Prime Minister talks about its optimistic financial future, his ambitious development plans, and building tourism.

Malaysia has found its footing once more. It is thriving economically and attracting major foreign direct investment under the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who assumed power in 2003. Unfortunately for Badawi, his most acerbic critic nowadays is Mahathir Mohamad, his former political mentor and ex-Premier.

Not one for understatement, Mahathir has described his successor as "ineffective" and even a "traitor" for not dealing forcefully with sometime-rival Singapore. He has declared that Badawi should resign.

Until recently, Badawi has maintained what his aides and associates describe as "elegant silence"—refusing to retaliate against the man who anointed him and voluntarily handed over power three years ago. But last week, Badawi finally defended himself on national TV. Southeast Asian correspondent Assif Shameen caught up with the prime minister at his office in Putra Jaya, the administrative capital outside Kuala Lumpur. Here are edited excerpts from the 40 minute interview:

You mentioned you've been hurt by some of the comments that your predecessor Dr. Mahathir has made against you in recent weeks, including asking you to step down. True?

All I can say is I am not losing any sleep over all this. It doesn't make me go berserk. We are a democracy, and in a democracy these things happen. Two years ago, we won the biggest mandate in the history of this country. I have a mandate from the people and I am focused on the job I was elected to do.

People will always say things. They have a right to say what they want. But I have my own vision for the country. We have a very ambitious development plan and I am carrying out my programs. [As for Mahathir's allegations] I have nothing to hide. We just need to explain to the people. We are focused on long-term national goals. Whether people want us to continue after the next elections is up to them to decide. What we need to do is put the right policies in place. Eventually, I believe we will prevail.

How has Malaysia changed in the three years since you have been in office?Certainly, the mood has changed. I don't want to say this myself, but you can go around the country and ask. People tell me Malaysia is now a more open, free, and inclusive society. The media is now lot freer than before. Even the parliamentary debates have changed a lot because we encourage people to participate and express themselves.

What is your economic vision for Malaysia? How different is your vision from the one espoused by your predecessors?

My vision is not different from the long-term vision articulated before to make Malaysia a developed nation by 2020. I share that vision with Dr. Mahathir and the previous Prime Ministers. We now have less than 15 years to go [to achieve that goal], and we need to move faster than we have so far. The government recently announced the [five-year economic blueprint] Ninth Malaysia Plan which is one of many steps we are taking to achieve that vision.
In my first two and half years, we have tried to change the mindset and stress things like education, developing human capital, and preparing the country as we move toward developed status. We still need to work in area of human capital development and get our software side ready. In the last 20 years, we built all the hardware, the infrastructure, all the buildinggs and bridges that you see here. Now it is time to get the software right.

Our people need the skill sets, training, and education to enable us to move to the next level. Unfortunately, human capital development and education are not as visible in the way roads and tall buildings are visible so people say "we don't see what you are doing." But in this current stage of development, we need to emphasize areas like skills and education and software.
With China becoming the factory to the world and India becoming the back office of the world, where is Malaysia's place in the sun?We have been trying to move the economy up the value chain. We realize we no longer have the low-cost advantage. I come from Penang, which used to be a key center of electronics industry. We can't compete with China or even India, especially in labor-intensive, low-cost manufacturing. But we can develop our niches where it would be difficult for China and India to have competitive advantage for many years.

We are still getting foreign investors in semiconductors, contract manufacturing, and electronics components. They tell us that while we may not have the low costs of China or India, we do have higher skills, experience, motivation, and discipline. Multinationals like us because we have a strong economy, good infrastructure, as well as stability. Our people understand English. They are computer-literate. We have a strong independent legal system. We have had large multinationals like Intel operating here since the '70s. They are still expanding. China and India can't do everything. Not all companies want to have all their operations only in China and India.
How successful has your drive been to reduce Malaysia's huge dependence on manufacturingWe have been dependent on the manufacturing sector for a long time. Actually, manufacturing was a big part, nearly 30% of our economy until recently. It's not just that China is becoming the factory to the world or that India is coming up that has forced us to look beyond manufacturing. But we have to diversify and broaden our economy. That's why we have been trying to focus on growing our services sector.

One of the areas we have been successful in recent years is tourism. We have worked hard to attract tourists from the Middle East. Malaysia is the biggest Asian destination for Arab tourists. We are trying to develop Malaysia into a health- services hub and an education hub attracting not just people from the Middle East but also from India and China. People come to Malaysia to study and to get medical treatment or surgery. We are also a big exporter of professional services like accounting, architecture, and so on.

We are exporting construction services. Our construction companies are among the most active [compared to] China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Middle East. Over the past 20 years, we have built very good infrastructure so our companies can now help build toll roads, bridges, and other infrastructure in India or Indonesia or China. We built a whole new city here [the administrative capital of] Putra Jaya. The experience we have gained here is helping our companies expand abroad and export their services.

Malaysia has become a key center for Islamic finance and recycling the petrodollar riches of the Middle East. Does Kuala Lumpur fancy itself a global Islamic financial center?Kuala Lumpur is already an important international Islamic financial center. As chairman of OIC [Organization of Islamic Countries] Malaysia got the master plan for Islamic finance approved last year. Other Islamic countries are trying to learn from our experience.

We have a niche advantage in Islamic banking. We have built a niche in Islamic insurance. Now we are trying to build up expertise in Islamic investments like REITS [real estate investment trusts]. We have given new Islamic banking licenses to foreign institutions. The Islamic Financial Services Board is based here in Kuala Lumpur. Our Sukuk or Islamic bond market is the biggest in world. As an Islamic country we have certain advantages that other financial centers don't have and we are building on that.

You have been pushing the biofuel and biotech sector, which many other countries have identified as growth drivers. Why?

This is a period of diversification for our economy. It is a time when we are restructuring the economy: moving upscale, getting into new areas, putting new growth drivers in place using higher skills since we no longer have low-cost advantage. We are looking at new sectors where we have some advantage. We have identified biotechnology. We are also looking at pharmaceuticals.

We need to move into more value-added manufacturing and services. We are blessed with natural resources—oil, gas, palm oil. India and China are the biggest buyers of our palm oil. Now with oil prices so high, we are going into biofuels like palm diesel. We have several biofuel plants under construction. Both India and China have expressed interest in having joint ventures with us in biofuels.

Malaysia is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. now and has in recent years embraced the idea of bilateral and multilateral deals with China and India.

How would the U.S.-Malaysia FTA benefit Malaysia?Malaysia is one of world's most open and trade-dependent economies. Our annual trade now is over one trillion ringgit ($275 billion). We are among the world's top 20 or so trading nations. Throughout history, we have been a nation of traders. While we are committed to multilateral agreements, we are also trying to negotiate some bilateral free trade agreements with our major trading partners.

We are still negotiating the FTA with the U.S. It is a tough negotiation. There are a lot of national interests involved. We are still a developing country whereas the U.S. is the world's biggest economy. As a developing country, there are some sectors we are nurturing that we'd like to protect for a little while longer. We are allowed to do that under the WTO rules. But we'd like to have a level playing field when it comes to trade.

The U.S. is one of our largest trading partners, one of our biggest export markets. It is also among our biggest investors. We have a long history of trade and investment ties with the U.S. and we are keen to build on that. We sAUGUST 15, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Malaysia's Makeover Lures Investor

Malaysia's Makeover Lures Investors
By Assif Shameen
Business Week, August

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been cleaning up after his predecessor. The result? An influx of big-spending foreign companies

Malaysia is pulling in some serious foreign direct investment these days. At a construction site next to Malaysia's southern port of Tanjung Pelapas near Singapore, giant contract manufacturer Flextronics Intl. (FLEX ) is spending $280 million on a 1.2 million-sq. ft. factory. This will include production lines relocated from China by the Singaporean concern.
Why? "Malaysia is one of the most cost-effective places for manufacturing in the world with overall costs about 20% lower than Shanghai," says Peter Tan, CEO of Flextronics Asia-Pacific, which has nearly 40% of its capacity in China.

In northern Penang, once dubbed Southeast Asia's Silicon Island, personal computer maker Dell (DELL ) recently began work on a four-hectare (approximately 10 acres) facility next to an existing plant. Malaysia has long been a strategic manufacturing center for Dell. Some 90% of the company's global notebook PC production is now shipped from its Penang facility even as Dell continues to expand its footprint in China and India, the two fastest growing PC markets in the world.

BIG TURNAROUND. Intel (INTC ), meanwhile, makes nearly a third of its global output of microprocessors at Penang. It is building a new state-of-the-art design center there, too. In 2007, Germany's Infineon (IFX ) will open its $1.1 billion semiconductor wafer fab carved out of a paddy field an hour's drive away in Kedah state.

Infineon chose Kedah over Shanghai because overall costs were lower. Others are piling into Malaysia as well. Foreign direct investments totaled $4.2 billion last year, and third of that haul came from U.S. companies.

Wasn't Malaysia supposed to get smoked by China as an investment destination? Earlier in the decade, that seemed a real possibility. Under the rule of strongman leader Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia had a problematic image among foreign investors.

NEW MANAGEMENT. After all, back in 1998 Mahathir slapped on stringent capital controls at the height of the Asia Financial Crisis, which created investor headaches for getting money in and out of the country. Malaysia's political climate was also nasty, what with Mahathir's jailing of his ambitious charismatic deputy, Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar, who was charged with sodomy and served six years behind bars, was released two years ago after his conviction was overturned by a court.

Malaysia wasn't exactly a no-go zone for foreign investment, but neither was it a preferred destination. That's all starting to change under Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who assumed leadership of this $140 billion economy three years ago from Mahathir. Investors are returning, capital controls were lifted years ago, and last year Malaysia removed its U.S. dollar peg, opting for a managed float for the ringgit.

Large global tech companies such as Seagate Technology (STX ), Intel, and Dell that had sunk serious money in China are taking a hard look at Malaysia again. "It's a new, more confident Malaysia under a new leadership that is trying to reposition itself as China and India rise," says Dr. Michael Yeoh, director of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, a think tank in Kuala Lumpur.

VOICES RESTORED. Many credit Badawi for the reassessment. "Malaysia today is more open, free, and democratic," says Musa Hitam, a former Malaysian deputy prime minister who rode to power with Mahathir 25 years ago only to fall out with his mentor. "There is freer public discussion of key issues, whereas in the past most people voiced their views only when Mahathir asked them to."

Moreover, the degradation of national institutions that marked the past two decades has been halted and their credibility is now being gradually restored. "Under Mahathir, judiciary, media, Parliament, police, civil service were all muzzled," adds Musa.

Indeed, the contrast between Mahathir and his successor couldn't be more marked. While Mahathir was a big-picture visionary, Badawi is a details man. Mahathir was a big spender who loved splurging on megaprojects like Kuala Lumpur's iconic Petronas Towers, the second-tallest building in the world, or the gigantic Bakun Dam. In contrast, Badawi is a fiscal conservative who has focused on education, training, and skills development of the country's population of 25.6 million mostly Malays, Chinese, and Indians.

YIN AND YANG. Mahathir could be by turns charming and absolutely autocratic. He surrounded himself with a close group of loyalists and cronies who were given lucrative government privatization contracts. Badawi is a somewhat shy and soft-spoken widower. However he has created more transparency in the government's bidding process. Big state contracts are now bid for in an open tender.

Mahathir brooked no dissent and was personally involved in all major decisions. Badawi is the ultimate consensus builder. Badawi has also been far tougher on corruption. He has sacked a Cabinet minister, put top businessmen on trial, and even dispatched the vice-president of his own political party, the ruling United Malays National Organization, for "money politics."
Badawi insists he isn't completely rejecting every policy of his outspoken predecessor. "People make too much of the differences but the main difference is style," Badawi told in a recent interview.

NOTHING TO CUT. Malaysia's economy grew by 5.3% last year and is forecast to grow 5.5% this year. It is Asia's largest oil and gas exporter and is getting a nice bounce from the spike in global energy prices. Still, Badawi has tried to rein in the build-and-spend mentality common during the Mahathir era. And even resource-rich Malaysia can no longer live beyond its means, Badawi contends.

"When I took office there was a very high budget deficit, and one of the main policies of my government has been to cut this deficit," he explains. "We can't do that anymore because we don't have the money." What about more privatizations? "There really is not much left to sell," he adds.

Under Badawi, Malaysia is moving to reduce reliance on manufacturing from about one-third of gross domestic product, where it was three years ago, to around 25% in five years. Malaysia has Asia's heaviest manufacturing reliance—even higher than chip-foundry-intensive Taiwan. "We need new engines of growth," says Badawi.

ROLLER COASTERS. Now, as it emphasizes services such as tourism, Malaysia has emerged as the biggest Asian destination for high-spending Arab tourists who have had difficulty obtaining visas to Europe and the U.S. in the aftermath of September 11.

It is also developing new niches such as Islamic finance. Malaysia has more than half of the total global Islamic bond market. It has emerged as one of three key centers for the recycling of Middle East's petrodollars alongside Dubai and London. Negotiations are now underway to bring Disney (DIS ), Universal Studios (GE ), or another large theme-park operation to Johore Bahru, the border town near Singapore that caters to Southeast East Asian and Arab tourists.

In July, Badawi announced the government had earmarked $ 3.4 billion for development of a Johore growth corridor. "We look at Johore and Singapore as Shenzen and Hong Kong," Badawi says. YTL, a Malaysian construction group, has proposed a $2.5 billion high-speed express train that would travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur in 90 minutes. "These are all privately funded initiatives that government is looking at," says Badawi.

OUTSIDE INVESTMENT. Yet as he tries to rebrand Malaysia, Badawi is taking heavy incoming fire from his former boss and mentor, Mahathir. He has cut Mahathir-era megaprojects and reined in the former strongman's cronies. Three months ago, Badawi cancelled the new and so-called "crooked bridge" project that was to have replaced the current one connecting Singapore and Malaysia. (Because Singapore had refused to dismantle its part of the old bridge, the new one had to be crooked.)

Badawi has also take a hard look at government subsidies for government-linked companies such as auto maker Proton, Malaysia Airlines, and the utility firm Tenaga. He has folded state enterprises under the umbrella of state investment arm Khazanah Holdings. Khazanah is remaking itself into the mold of its Singapore counterpart Temasek Holdings, the city state's investment arm.

Rather than funneling subsidies to local companies, Khazanah is looking outside Malaysia. It has invested in Indian hospitals, Indonesian banks, a cellular phone company in Singapore, and retailing ventures in China.

WRESTLING MATCH. Mahathir doesn't like what he sees. He has called Badawi a "traitor" and accused him of "selling out" and "kowtowing" to Singapore over the bridge flap and other matters. He has also blasted Badawi for refusing to help Proton, the national car project. Under its trade commitments to other Southeast Asian neighbors, Malaysia is obligated to open its protected auto market to foreign competition, and Badawi has been cutting tariffs in preparations for that eventual opening.

Mahathir has criticized that move and said Badawi had "no guts" when it comes to protecting national icons and national interests. Last week, Mahathir called for Badawi to step down immediately. "I am not losing sleep over this," Badawi says. The stakes are high in the Mahathir-Badawi battle. A protracted wrestling match could undermine business confidence and rattle the financial markets.

THE QUIET MAN. Other challenges loom. Badawi is nudging Malaysian companies into alternative fuels as a hedge if energy prices tumble and to position state oil company Petronas for a profitable future. Others would like to see Badawi do more to reform the long-standing affirmative-action programs designed to help underprivileged Malays but hurt the prospects for talented Chinese and Indian citizens.

That is a much more long-range goal for Badawi. "Rome was not built in a day. We need to keep growing the pie to be able to distribute it evenly and fairly," he says.

Badawi may not attract the global headlines Mahathir used to with his outbursts against the West and severe criticism of Israel. However, in his quiet and determined way he is making his imprint on a Malaysia that looks like it's making a comeback.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dr M should resist the Young Turk Temptation

Dr M should resist the Young Turk temptation

16 Aug 2006


News Straits Times

For the sake of keeping his dignity intact, and sparing Malaysians any embarrassment, Tun Dr Mahathir should rein in any notion he might have about his indispensability to the Malaysian body politic, writes TUNKU ABDUL AZIZ.

"I HAVE watched Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s brand of governance with a mixture of alarm, disbelief, despair, pride and joy, my senses and emotions continually thrown into a state of confusion and turmoil.

"His gamble with his personal integrity in outrageously questionable ventures — putting at risk the Employees Provident Fund and the national reserves, no less, in his forays into the international tin market and the world of currency speculation — so glibly described as being undertaken in the ‘national interest’ — must rank as the most bizarre aspect of his premiership.
"It would be churlish to deny him the accolade he so richly deserves (his many inconsistencies and contradictions notwithstanding) for his brilliant stewardship of this difficult, dynamic, multi-ethnic, and potentially volatile nation in search of greatness.

"Even Dr Mahathir’s worst detractors will readily admit that no one has done as much as he to instil a sense of national pride and confidence in his countrymen and countrywomen based on solid social, economic and political achievements.

"There can be no denying that this man of destiny has wrought changes that will ensure that Malaysia will never be the same again. I will miss him."

I stand by every word I wrote above in a special tribute to Dr Mahathir on the invitation of the Far Eastern Economic Review in October 2003, and my admiration has not altered one iota. If anything, he has gained my sympathy, and the proud man that he is, he probably thinks I am being condescending. He is mistaken on that score.

It cannot be easy for him who as prime minister was larger than life and exercised power as completely as any absolute ruler to find himself out on a limb suddenly.

He has to learn, as the Tunku and Tun Hussein Onn had to before him to eat humble pie once out of office. No disgrace in that. It might be difficult to swallow at first, but for the sake of keeping his dignity intact, and sparing us unnecessary embarrassment, he should disabuse himself quickly of any notion he might continue to harbour about his indispensability to the Malaysian body politic. He must move on with good grace as befits an elder statesman, in tandem with the new national values and aspirations. He should resist the temptation of behaving like an angry Young Turk, and, in the process, becoming a disruptive influence. Therein lies true greatness.

As a respected builder of our nation, Dr Mahathir should rejoice in having chosen as his successor a person with impeccable ethical and religious credentials, with a good pedigree to boot. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may not be all things to all men. He has a mind of his own and he may not want to accept Tun’s now discredited dictum that "Father knows best, and don’t ask too many questions" which few dared to challenge in the good old days of Mahathirism. Today’s Malaysia is a relatively open society, open to different points of view and ideas, even dissenting ones.

There are fewer sacred cows now. If we value the relaxation of the rules that emasculated us intellectually, and, some would say, spiritually, during the Dr Mahathir era, we should bear in mind that the space we enjoy today carries a price tag. We have to act responsibly to protect our country’s larger freedom — the freedom to live in peace and prosperity in a society that Tom Harrison, the famous curator of the Sarawak Museum once referred to as a "tangle of peoples".
This brings me to a consideration of the need for us all to focus our creative energies on issues that unite and strengthen us rather than harp on those that can only be resolved with an impossibly large reservoir of goodwill and understanding. This unfortunately is currently not available. We need to address our grievances with an open agenda, based on what is good for our country.

I recall all those years ago as a schoolboy in Special Malay 2 at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star, how thrilled and proud we were when it was announced at the school assembly that Mahathir Mohamad had been accepted for medical studies in Singapore. He was already a role model to us; his good manners were a marked contrast to the other Senior Cambridge boys. And he has continued to fascinate and confound me.

I look back to my salad days with nostalgia tinged with pride because of the achievements of our seniors in universities in Singapore, England and elsewhere. Admittedly nothing new for Kedah that had always sent its best scholars overseas and who had returned to occupy positions that in other States were the preserve of the British but it meant more Kedah boys were being prepared for higher responsibility in the struggle for Merdeka.

I have been a critic of many of his actions when he was prime minister, but I have also been among the first to congratulate him on the soundness of some of his policies. In the years that I headed Transparency International Malaysia, I had to chastise him on numerous occasions about the state of corruption in the country. Many people both in Malaysia and abroad thought how brave I was to speak out so bluntly on corruption and ethical issues in Dr Mahathir’s Malaysia.

It is not that I was brave. Rather, it was Dr Mahathir who was perceptive to know that I had no personal political agenda and that my criticism of his administration had everything to do with my love for our country and my desire to ensure for Malaysia a place at the top table of the community of clean nations. He was always surrounded by sycophantic supplicants, and the fact that I had never asked him for anything helped my anti-corruption cause. My criticism of him now is that he did not use his considerable power to fight corruption when he could.
Dr Mahathir is not a spent force. His charisma and the respect that we have for him will ensure that he will always have a positive role to play in building a new Malaysia, not necessarily in his own image because times have changed. The Malaysia that he can help to build will be an amalgam of material progress a la Vision 2020, equality of opportunity for all, zero tolerance for corruption and unethical public behaviour, and national integration based on shared values and opportunities.

What better time than the 49th anniversary of Merdeka in which to rededicate ourselves to these ideals of justice, fairness, peace and prosperity for all.
The writer, a former president of Transparency International Malaysia, is special adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Ethics Office. He now lives in New York from where he will be a contributor to the NST.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Apa jadi dengan wang dinar emas

Apa jadi dengan wang Dinar emas?
oleh Jude Wanniski

Ketika Perdana Menteri Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad bersara November 2003 selepas 22 tahun berkuasa pada umur 77, saya telah berharap yang beliau akan menggandakan usahanya untuk membuat reformasi matawang bagi dunia Islam yang berasaskan wang dinar emas. Tetapi, selepas beberapa ucapan dan liputan media mengenai subjek ini, beliau telah 'hilang' dari pandangan ramai.

Dengan harga dolar untuk emas kini semakin melonjak, dan dolar AS semakin menurun berbanding euro, seluruh dunia mungkin mendapat faedah dari idea Mahathir, tetapi apa yang telah berlaku?

Pengerusi Rizab Persekutuan AS Alan Greenspan minggu lepas telah mengejutkan pasaran kewangan dan komoditi dengan komennya di sebuah persidangan perbankan di Frankfurt, dengan mengatakan yang dolar akan terus jatuh berbanding matawang lain disebabkan defisit perdagangan AS.

Namun, jika Amerika Syarikat mempunyai dolar emas, ini tidak mungkin berlaku, dan Greenspan, yang saya kenali secara peribadi selama 32 tahun, sedar akan hal ini.Disebabkan dolar 'terapung-apung' tanpa sebarang ikatan dengan nilai emas, ia telah mengalami kitaran inflasi, yang mungkin akan melibatkan seluruh Asia dalam satu lagi inflasi, melalui hubungan di antara dolar dan matawang China dan Hong Kong.

Mungkin sekarang adalah masa yang baik untuk berfikir sejenak mengenai inspirasi dan kegagalan Mahathir, dan bagaimana penggunaan dinar emas mungkin akan berjaya jikalau dijalankan dengan cara berlainan.

Mengapa saya berminat? Saya telah cuba untuk mempengaruhi negara saya sejak suku abad lepas untuk mengembalikan dolar emas sebagai inti utama dalam sistem kewangan antarabangsa yang baru. Saya masih gagal hingga kini kerana dunia perdagangan terus terumbang-ambing dengan dolar AS yang terapung, dan mengalami inflasi dan deflasi dalam kitaran yang tidak dijangka.

Kuasa-kuasa elit yang menguasai wang dan bank di AS percaya bahawa dolar kertas AS yang terapung adalah baik untuk Amerika walaupun ia mendatangkan masalah untuk perdagangan negara lain dan dunia luar. Dengan dinar emas Islam, saya menjangka, dunia Islam akan mempunyai matawang terbaik di dunia. AS akan terpaksa menyandarkan dolar kepada emas dan euro, dan blok yuan/yen akan turut serta.

Sebabnya, matawang terbaik akan menjadi magnet untuk kewangan antarabangsa, kerana pengeksport dan pengimport setiap negara di dunia akan menjimatkan berbilion-bilion dolar setahun yang dibelanjakan unutk mengatasi kerugian matawang di pasaran dunia. Ketika presiden Richard Nixon meninggalkan piawai pertukaran emas Bretton Woods pada 15 Ogos 1971, dengan pendapat yang ia akan membantu AS tanpa menghiraukan negara-negara lain, bank-bank Amerika menjadi yang terbesar dan paling menguntungkan di dunia.

Ini kemudiannya berakhir ketika kerajaan Jepun mengekalkan yen dari terus menjunam berbanding emas seperti dolar; secara tiba-tiba, Jepun mempunyai wang yang 'lebih baik'. Untuk 15 tahun, antara 7 bank terbesar di dunia terletak di Jepun. Pengalaman 'manis' Jepun ini berakhir apabila Perbendaharaan AS mengugut Tokyo pada 1989 dengan penalti perdagangan melainkan Jepun menukar polisinya untuk kebaikan AS.

Tokyo kemudiannya memperlahankan peningkatan harga hartanah dengan cukai pendapatan kapital yang lebih berkesan, dan menyebabkan Nikkei jatuh dari tahap tertingginya pada 1990. Bank Jepun terpaksa menguruskan matawangnya untuk menjadi lebih rapat kepada dolar. Ini telah memberi kesan negatif kepada bank-bank dalam deflasi kewangan pada 1997, ketika emas jatuh dari $385 /oz ke $255 pada 2001.Dalam proses itu, deflasi dolar juga telah membinasakan negara-negara pengeluar komoditi di Asia. Kerana itulah Mahathir mula memikirkan untuk melindungi dunia Islam dari keputusan yang dibuat oleh ahli-ahli bank Wall Street.

Beliau menarik perhatian dunia dengan menyalahkan Yahudi Amerika tentang krisis kewangan Asia, tetapi dalam satu surat terbuka kepada perdana menteri yang saya paparkan dalam laman web saya ketika itu, saya menjelaskan yang lebih banyak klien Yahudi saya di Wall Street telah mengalami kerugian ketika krisis tersebut, bukannya mendapat keuntungan.Masalah ini telah menjadi punca kelemahan teori ekonomi di AS, menyebabkan Nixon membuat keputusan untuk membebaskan dolar dari emas pada 1971.

Mahathir masih lagi berkuasa pada 2001 ketika mengumumkan ideanya mengenai dinar emas, dan beliau berharap pada 2003 sekurang-kurangnya dua belas dari 57 negara Organisasi Negara-negara Islam (OIC) akan turut serta dalam sistemnya ini.Media dunia juga percaya bahawa Iran akan menyertai Malaysia tahun yang seterusnya. Tetapi, tiada apa-apa yang berlaku, dan kini dinar emas hanya menjadi bahan gurauan dan perbualan kalangan ahli kewangan. Mengapa idea ini dimansuhkan? Salah satu masalah yang dihadapi Mahathir adalah Washington telah menggunakan pengaruhnya untuk meminta Dana Kewangan Antarabangsa (IMF) untuk menghalang mana-mana negara ahli untuk mengembalikan matawang bersandarkan emas.

Jikalau semua matawang lain diapungkan dan tidak disandarkan kepada emas, dolar AS akan mengekalkan statusnya sebagai matawang rizab utama dunia. Beberapa negara Arab diketuai oleh Arab Saudi sebaliknya telah membincangkan idea pasaran Arab yang disandarkan kepada euro.

Sekurang-kurangnya euro adalah lebih stabil berbanding dolar kepada emas, tetapi euro masih lagi berubah-ubah yang membawa masalah kepada perniagaan komersil untuk negara-negara membangun yang berada di dalam zon dagangannya. esalahan yang dilakukan Mahathir adalah mencadangkan bahawa dinar emas hanya digunakan untuk menyelesaikan akaun perdagangan di antara negara-negara terlibat. Ia tidak akan diberi kepada orang-orang biasa. Tiada kertas dinar emas yang dikeluarkan oleh bank-bank utama Islam, dengan menambah atau menolak kecairan matawang ini, untuk mengekalkan kadar tukaran dinar berbanding emas.

Kesilapannya mungkin kerana kepercayaannya bahawa sesebuah negara seharusnya memerlukan jongkong emas untuk menguruskan piawai emas Islam. Ini adalah salah. ebenarnya, bank-bank kerajaan hanya memerlukan kuantiti emas yang nominal, dan keseimbangan perdagangan akan tercapai melalui penukaran aset kewangan - pinjaman atau ekuiti, bon atau saham.

Idea untuk menyelesaikan akaun perdagangan dengan penghantaran jongkong emas adalah idea abad ke 19 yang telah lapuk, dan seharusnya dilupakan dan dipinggirkan dari sebarang rancangan.

Faktor utama emas menjadi kuasa penstabil adalah kerana hanya terdapat sedikit emas di dunia, kurang dari 135,000 ton metrik kesemuanya. ni tidak cukup untuk membina separuh dari Monumen Washington dari emas tulen. Idea ini bukannya datang dari saya sahaja. n Greenspan juga berkata demikian kepada Kongres AS.

Piawai emas yang moden hanya menggunakan harga pasaran emas sebagai tanda, membuat penambahan kepada bekalan wang dinar apabila harga dinar/emas menunjukkan kejatuhan kecil dan mengeluarkan bekalan dinar apabila harga pasaran menunjukkan peningkatan.
Konsep mudah ini pernah digunakan oleh Alexander Hamilton, setiausaha perbendaharaan pertama Amerika, untuk mempengaruhi Kongres AS untuk menggunakan piawai emas. Ini berlaku ketika republik baru ini tidak mempunyai sedikit emas pun.

Kesilapan kedua Mahathir adalah memikirkan bahawa dinar emas boleh digunakan secara beransur-ansur, dengan dua atau tiga negara membuat percubaan dan yang lain-lain akan turut serta ketika ia telah terbukti keberkesanannya. dalah menjadi lebih mudah untuk menganjurkan persidangan Bretton Woods Islam yang terdiri dari kesemua 57 negara, dan mengaturkan supaya kesemua, atau hampir kesemuanya, untuk bersetuju mengekalkan matawang tempatan mereka sesama sendiri. Mereka akan menggunakan harga emas pasaran sebagai petanda sama ada bank pusat mereka patut menambah atau mengurangkan kecairan dinar pada hari perniagaan tersebut.

Sebuah ekonomi kecil mahupun beberapa ekonomi kecil tidak mampu mengaturkan piawai emas secara bersendirian kerana pasaran AS masih menguasai perdagangan dunia dengan jumlah import dan eksportnya. Negara-negara Islam secara sendiri yang terpaksa mengambilkira nilai dolar ketika menguruskan matawang tempatan ataupun perdagangan tempatannya, mungkin akan menghadapi masalah dan kemungkinan muflis.

Walau bagaimanapun, perpaduan akan membawa kekuatan, dan dunia Islam kini mempunyai kekuatan yang cukup secara keseluruhannya untuk bangkit menentang dolar yang berubah-ubah. Dan sudah tentu, dolar tidak akan terumbang-ambing untuk masa yang lama sebelum Washington membuat keputusan untuk berhenti memanipulasi dolarnya dan turut serta dalam pengstabilan matawang berbanding emas.

Namun, masa mungkin sudah berlalu untuk dunia Islam melakukan inisiatif ini.Dengan Greenspan tidak mengambil tanggungjawab ke atas penurunan dolar, China mungkin terpaksa menjadi peneraju dalam pemisahannya dari inflasi dolar dan masalah yang dibawanya.
Jikalau Beijing mengambil langkah pertama untuk menyandarkan matawangnya kepada dolar pada taraf yang sesuai dan neutral, Jepun mungkin akan turut serta berpisah dari dolar yang lemah dan menggunakan yuan China sebagai rujukan. Seluruh Asia akan menurutinya, termasuklah Mahathir di Malaysia.