Local banks are selling the ringgit again – head of currency trading at Affin Bank Berhad said today. This is cool *grin* – at 5pm, the ringgit was lower against the greenback at 3.3295/3325. But who can blame the currency traders after the news broke that Europe’s biggest economy powerhouse, Germany, contracted for the first time in almost four years in the second quarter. Adding salt to the wound was the United Kingdom’s unemployment which rose the most in almost 16 years. In U.S. the latest consumer prices shot up in July at twice the expected rate pushing the inflation to 17-year high.
The joke of the town was that remisiers (brokers), dealers, traders or investors should just stay at home with coke and popcorn – enjoy the Beijing Olympic 2008 at channel 318 (Astro). That was why when the Bursa Malaysia Berhad (KLSE: BURSA, stock-code 1818) and Securities Commission were busy debating the decade-year-old issue on whether the stock trading hour should be shortened in view of the low daily transaction volume, almost all the brokers were believed to support such proposal. At least the remisiers do not need to sit in the office waiting to “die” (to quote a statement from a broker).
So where are all the focuses now that the local stock exchange is still in such a boring mode? Olympic Games and the political gossips of course. When the ruling government announced the name of Ariff Shah Omar Shah as the potential giant slayer against opposition de-facto leader and PM-in-waiting Anwar, I was scratching my head. Not because he was already an existing state assemblyman but because his name rang a bell. Later I found out that this fellow is the brother of a decade-old scandal – Amin Shah Omar Shah. In case you do not know who this genius is, he was the person who managed to siphon billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money down the drain. He was once the superhero who owned PSCI.
In 1998, PSC Industries Bhd (KLSE: PSCI, stock-code 8133) signed a RM 24 billion deal to build 27 patrol vessels for the Malaysian Navy. The 10-year contract also gave PSCI exclusive rights to service Malaysian navy’s entire fleet. After 7 years (2005) into the deal and despite government’s advancement of more than RM 2.5 billion to PSCI, it still couldn’t deliver even one complete ship which could meet the basic standard. Boustead Holdings Berhad which is majority owned by Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera finally bailed out PSCI. And where is this sucker Amin Shah? He has gone MIA (missing in action) since booted out from PSCI board although he’s still loaded with money and I bet he’s still enjoying the fun of flying between Dubai and London (he’s in exile?).
It’s funny that the ruling government couldn’t find any other candidate to face Anwar. It could meant that nobody dares to face the giant although the ruling government has all the resources in terms of money and machinery. Tactics were set to reduce opposition’s 13,398-vote majority if not to capture the seat. The fact that the polling day was fixed on a working day speaks volume about ruling government’s intention to prevent voters from turn up to vote. Ruling government is playing reverse psychology-game, trumpeting that Anwar will win handsomely and easily. With such tactic it hope opposition parties and supporters would be complacent. The more people who think that Anwar will win no matter what, the higher the chances are for the ruling government to create surprises.
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