FinanceTwitter Money Finance Economy Business Invest News Thu, 22 Feb 2018 05:46:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 It’s Razak – Not Mahathir – Who Makes Malays Incompetent, Lazy & Handicapped Thu, 22 Feb 2018 05:10:54 +0000 Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister, instructed his boy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (then UMNO Youth Chief) to speak out against then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on the issue of cronyism and nepotism during 1998 UMNO General Assembly. The plan was, of course, to topple Mahathir’s leadership by alleging that his government was practising cronyism and nepotism.


The plan backfired spectacularly. Being a clever fox, Mahathir easily outsmarted his deputy’s naughty plan. Mahathir retaliated by issuing a long list of recipients of shares in government projects. As it turned out, a long list of jaw-dropping recipients of special shares and privatisation projects exposed that the lion share had actually been given to Anwar’s cronies.


After the plan had failed, Zahid quickly met with Mahathir seeking forgiveness. And it’s not hard to understand why he made the U-turn at lightning speed. Zahid’s name was also listed as among Anwar’s cronies who benefited from the government projects. That disgraceful Zahid is now the Deputy Prime Minister, the same person who admitted to owning RM230 million in assets 20 years ago.

Anwar vs Mahathir vs Najib

In a nutshell, cronyism and nepotism are part of UMNO’s culture. But how did the shameful practice started in UMNO, the backbone of Barisan Nasional (National Front) government of Malaysia? More importantly, who was the architect of cronyism and nepotism in UMNO? Anwar wanted UMNO members to think that it was Mahathir, the evil premier who ruled for 22 years from 1981 to 2003.


In reality, the architect of cronyism and nepotism was actually none other than Abdul Razak Hussein, Malaysia’s second prime minister who happens to be the father of present Prime Minister Najib Razak. Yes, out of greed, not only Mr. Razak was instrumental in endorsing and architecting the 13 May 1969 bloody racial riots to seize power, he was also the real father of cronyism.


For as long as one can remember, the ethnic-Malays have been worshipping Mr. Razak because he was also the architect of FELDA, formed in 1956 to handle resettlement of rural poor (the Malays) on 10 acres of land each to cultivate crops such as oil palms. Interestingly, the same FELDA scheme is being turned upside down by Razak’s own son – PM Najib Razak.

Felda Palm Oil Workers

The older generation of ethnic-Malays have every reason to be thankful to Razak. But that doesn’t change the fact he was equally responsible for the disease of cronyism today. All hell breaks loose when Robert Kuok, Malaysia’s undisputed richest man, released his memoir – “Robert Kuok – A Memoir“.


The unleashing of the book comes at a bad time to Najib son of Razak as the prime minister struggles to win the hearts of not only the Chinese, but also the Malays as FELDA plunges into scandal of corruption, resulting from cronyism and nepotism. For speaking the truth, the 94-year-old billionaire Robert Kuok is now the punching bag of Najib’s paid-bloggers.


Kuok is being called anti-UMNO, anti-Malay and whatnot, and even accused of having a hidden agenda to replace the UMNO-led government with a DAP-led government – never mind that Chinese-based DAP is to contest only 35 Parliamentary seats (out of 165 seats) in Peninsular Malaysia for the coming 14th General Election.

Robert Kuok Hock Nien

The funny thing is, if “Sugar King” Kuok wanted to topple UMNO-led government, he would have had done so decades ago, when UMNO was so poor they had no money for election. After all, Kuok had already moved his empire base to Hong Kong since 1974, giving little attention to Malaysia. It’s rather insane to suggest he wants to change the status quo now.


While it’s hard to justify, let alone prove, that Kuok wants to topple the corrupt Najib regime, it’s easy to prove that Najib’s father was the architect of cronyism and nepotism, and even corruption or extortion for that matter. In spite of general perception, MISC (Malaysian International Shipping Corporation) was actually established by Kuok together with Frank WK Tsao.


Within a year of establishment, however, Prime Minister Abdul Razak came knocking asking for free shares. Razak, the father of the current Prime Minister Najib Razak, shamelessly told Robert Kuok – “I want you to make a fresh issue of 20% of new shares. I’m under pressure because there is not a high enough Malay percentage of shareholding.”

Abdul Razak Hussein – Malaysia Second Prime Minister

Of course, those 20% of MISC shares didn’t go to the poor FELDA settlers but the elites within UMNO. But the Malays didn’t know that. The daylight robbery didn’t end there though. Two years later, thanks to MISC roaring success, the same Abdul Razak came knocking again – this time demanding another 20% – making Malaysian government the largest single shareholder.


Those parasites in UMNO are the same band of freeloaders who had benefited from the hard work of Robert Kuok but have the cheek today to badmouth the Chinese billionaire. The Johor-born tycoon had advised his good friend, third Prime Minister Hussein Onn, that in order to move the country forward, racial representation is not important but integrity, capability, honest and hard-working are.


Kuok’s memoirs also revealed how the greedy and powerful Malays abuse the 30% free stake of Chinese companies for the so-called poor Malays. After given the free shares, the elite Malays would sell off their shares for profit. Then they would claim that the same company that had already given away 30% has not fulfilled the obligation and is forced to give – again – free shares to meet the 30% requirement.

Abdul Razak and son Najib Razak

Perhaps Abdul Razak didn’t realize that he had effectively opened the floodgate of making the Malays incompetent, lazy and handicapped the moment he demanded free shares from Robert Kuok. Heck, he hadn’t a clue that his policy of cronyism and nepotism would corrupt the next generation of UMNO leaders that even his own son would be crowned the biggest crook in the world.


So no, it wasn’t Mahathir who is responsible for the incompetency hitting the ethnic-Malays in this country. Mahathir, Anwar, Zahid were just the lucky freeloaders riding on the gravy train because they were there at the right time and right place. Like it or not, Abdul Razak was responsible for the rotting of UMNO, not DAP and certainly not Robert Kuok.


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Chicken Apocalypse – UK Hit By KFC Crisis So Serious People Call Police For Help Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:13:50 +0000 Tower Hamlets Metropolitan Police Service tweeted – “Please do not contact us about the #KFCCrisis – it is not a police matter if your favourite eatery is not serving the menu that you desire.” So what is happening in United Kingdom that the public saw it fit to call the police, as if it was some sort of apocalypse? Here’s the problem – Britain runs out of chicken.


The chicken apocalypse became so serious that the public resort to calling the emergency services – but the local police isn’t impressed. About half the fast food chain’s 900 outlets in UK were still closed on Tuesday night. That was a slight improvement from a day ago on Monday when 575 KFC restaurants were forced to close for business.


Still, KFC believes delivery problems will cause some outlets to remain closed for the rest of the week. The crisis exploded last week on Valentine Day when KFC officially changed its delivery contract to DHL from South African-owned supplier Bidvest. DHL, in turn has blamed “operational issues” for the supply disruption.

KFC UK Crisis - Closed - Delivery System Problem

KFC, trying to play down the crisis, says – “We’ve brought a new delivery partner on board, but they’ve had a couple of teething problems – getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex.” However, GMB, a union with 631,000 members, has blamed KFC for the chicken apocalypse. GMB claims they had warned KFC that it was a mistake to switch from Bidvest to DHL.


GMB officer Mick Rix said – “Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them. KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre. Three weeks ago, KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.”


The new contract awarded to DHL had led to 255 job losses and the closure of a Bidvest depot. But KFC justified that based on DHL’s estimation, winning the KFC contract means the opening of a new distribution centre hence creation of 300 new jobs. While it’s laughable that KFC runs out of chicken, it’s equally amusing that DHL – a global market leader in logistics industry – is hit by logistic nightmare.


An insider said – “Some DHL lorries were sat in traffic for hours and it kick-started a huge backlog of deliveries. They couldn’t get enough drivers together to clear the backlog then in the chaos trucks were delivering wrong stock or out-of-date stock which had to be sent back. It’s a logistical nightmare for DHL. They just didn’t have the set-up to deal with it.”


The DHL depot at Rugby, Warwicks, described as “total mayhem” – with pictures showing thousands of trays of chicken waiting to be loaded on lorries. The crisis becomes disaster when mountain of chicken reportedly sent to waste at DHL depot as the logistics specialist struggles to fix the screw-up. Delivery drivers said their usual 40-minute waits had gone up to 4½ hours.


One KFC worker claimed employees had been asked to go to DHL’s depot to help load lorries. The worker said – “We have basically been asked to do DHL’s job for them.” But what choices do the KFC workers have? They work on zero-hour contract, which means as many as 25,000 staff doesn’t get paid as long as stores stay shut.

KFC UK Crisis - Smuggled Chicken Through Backdoor

While some staffs had been told to “take a holiday”, some desperate workers were caught “smuggling” raw chicken they obtained elsewhere – in a Volvo – through the backdoor of a KFC restaurant in Erith, Kent – in order to keep the business operational. The revelation has sparked concerns about the freshness and quality of KFC chickens sold to the public.


The delivery chaos is costing fast food chain KFC about £1 million a day. While DHL has apologised for the mayhem, sources said KFC may seek up to £30 million in compensation from the logistics company. Obviously, heads have to roll as it’s clearly DHL’s fault that such meltdown happens under the company’s delivery system.


Any business experts and project managers would recommend a deployment of a new system based on “phases”, to minimize disruption and risk factor. However, in the case of KFC new delivery system in Britain, reports were leaked that KFC switched from Bidvest to DHL new delivery system in a “big bang” approach – a complete migration in one go.

KFC UK Crisis - Empty Bucket

Just 4 months ago after the German courier company was awarded the KFC delivery contract, it vowed to “set a new delivery standard”. It boasted – “DHL is also committed to setting a new industry benchmark by delivering outstanding service to all KFC’s restaurants and its consumers. We intend to re-write the rule book and create a stock management, distribution.”


KFC’s internal communications manager Claire Gibson was reportedly urged staff to keep quiet about the embarrassing screw-up. She wrote in a message: “It’s great the public care so much about our chicken but while we are doing our best to sort out everything that is going on we ask that you do not speak with any media.”


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Forget China, E.U. Threatens U.S. With Trade War – Targeting Harley-Davidson & Jack Daniels Wed, 21 Feb 2018 04:21:45 +0000 Donald Trump is learning the hard way that as the POTUS, he isn’t actually the most powerful man on planet Earth. That title, arguably, could easily belong to Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping, or even the notorious Kim Jong-un. As the Commander-in-Chief, his commands to launch nuclear strikes on North Korea could still be rejected by U.S. generals.


Trump also learns that as the world’s biggest economic power, the United States can’t do as it wishes to “Make America Great Again (MAGA).”  During his presidential campaign, he often bragged how easily China could be brought to its knees. He had promised his supporters that China would be punished for “unfair trade”, “currency manipulation”, “IP thievery” and whatnot.


On Valentine Day, he said he was considering a range of options to address steel and aluminium imports that he said were unfairly hurting U.S. producers – including tariffs and quotas. Obviously, China is the target. And it appears that the tough Trump administration is about to show what the powerful U.S. is capable of.

US-China Trade War - President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump

The Commerce Department has recommended imposing heavy tariffs or quotas on foreign producers of steel and aluminium in the interest of national security. Somehow, the U.S. saw it fit mixing business with defence, whenever it suits them. It’s easy to self-declare that the U.S. national security is under threat from foreign exporters. But slapping a global tariff isn’t as easy as a walk in the park.


The U.S. has recommended a global tariff of 24% on all steel imports. Turns out, China isn’t the only country which has been dumping steel on American soil. Brazil is actually the country exporting cheapest steel to the U.S. So, America, a supposedly free and fair nation, is toying with an idea of selectively targeting “only some countries” to be punished severely.


As many as 12 countries – Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam – have been identified as the so-called culprits so that they could be slapped with new tariffs of 53% or higher. Another option is to impose a quota on steel imports, restricting up to 63% of what they had sold to America in 2017.

China Steel Manufacturing

But those countries considered not U.S.-allies aren’t really the troublemakers. Despite Trump’s constant bashing and bitching about the Chinese, in truth, Canada – U.S.’ neighbour and strongest ally in the region – is the biggest international exporter of both steel and aluminium to the United States. It would scream hypocrisy and double-standard if Canada is excluded from the tariffs.


Trump’s war on steel and aluminium has already gotten another ally, E.U. – America’s strongest ally in Europe – prepares for the worst. Like China, which is ready to hurt U.S. farmers (Trump’s voters in Iowa, Indiana and Nebraska) with similar tariffs retaliation on made-in-America soybeans, the economic powerhouse European Union will not go down without a fight.


Brussels has pledged to fight fire with fire if Washington carries out its threat to introduce import barriers to steel and aluminium products from Europe. The first casualties would be U.S. iconic brands such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Jack Daniels whiskey. Apparently, like the Chinese, the Europeans have done their homework on their counter-tariffs war plan.

Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson was chosen because it is based in Wisconsin, home state of Republican Speaker Paul Ryan. Jack Daniels, meanwhile, is mainly produced in Tennessee and Kentucky, home of Donald Trump supporter Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate Majority Leader. The list of U.S. products to target was deliberately released by German – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.


Besides the U.S.-made whiskey, the E.U. plans to punish American orange juice and dairy products too. To send a strong – and serious – message that the E.U. wasn’t bluffing, European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker has claimed that Europe would respond to any US steel sanctions – within days, not months.


Out of the total U.S. steel imports last year which amounted to 26-million tonnes, 3.2-million were shipped from the E.U. The E.U. shipments were worth €2.8 billion (US$3.1 billion), a small amount but still, Brussels isn’t impressed about the collateral damage in a trade war which Trump is eager to fight against the Chinese. Unless the U.S. goes on a solo war on China, many U.S. allies are likely to be affected.

Jack Daniels Whiskey

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Gong Xi Fa Chai – MCA & Najib Calling Your Parents, Bribing & Begging For Votes Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:45:13 +0000 Don’t be surprised when your dad or mom happily tells you that Prime Minister Najib Razak had called to wish them “Gong Xi Fa Chai”. As Malaysian ethnic-Chinese, like the rest of Chinese around the world, prepare for a family reunion dinner, Najib regime didn’t waste whatever little time left soliciting for votes from the Chinese community.


Of course, Mr. Najib didn’t personally call your parents. Even if he did, it’s hard to believe he was sincere. After all, this is the same person who had vowed to bathe his keris (Malay dagger) with Chinese blood. The so-called Najib’s private calls were from part-time workers paid by his propaganda team taking advantage of the Chinese Lunar New Year.


However, Najib’s propaganda team isn’t the only people trying to suck up to the ethnic-Chinese. MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association), one of 13 component parties forming Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition, has similarly shifted into top gear. While Najib’s team sends Chinese Lunar New Year greetings, MCA was entrusted to do some heavy-lifting.

Liow Tiong Lai - Najib Razak - Rosmah Mansor - Chinese New Year Huat Ahh Greetings

MCA is taking advantage of senior citizens, claiming that as a MCA member, they are entitled to free RM100 cash “angpow (monetary gift in red envelope)” as well as free general insurance protection. Your parents may bang their head against wall and beat themselves up, as they couldn’t remember they had ever joined the political party.


Still, your parents are required to go to MCA office such as Wisma MCA to get the goodies. Chances are they would be forced to attend some sort of brainwashing talks or photo ops for propaganda purposes. MCA also hopes that the bribes could entice some greedy and ignorant Chinese into registering as new member of MCA, and in the process increase its supporters.


The Chinese-based MCA party is often seen by the Chinese community as a lapdog of UMNO, a Malay-based dominant political party of which Mr. Najib is the president. As a running dog willing to do anything just for some crumbs, MCA was abandoned while opposition DAP gobbled as much as 90% of Chinese vote bank during election 5 years ago.

Wee Ka Siong and Liow Tiong Lai

Wait a minute!! How did Najib Razak and MCA get hold of your parents’ contact number? Isn’t that an intrusion of privacy? Apparently, those folks from Najib propaganda team and MCA marketing team possess all the confidential data – including your parents’ identity card information, job or occupation, and even their old home address. What privacy?


It appears that Najib administration has failed to rally ethnic-Malay voters, even after the prime minister conspired with PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) to bring ancient Hudud Law to the country. Abdul Hadi Awang, president of PAS, was allegedly bribed RM90 million to leave the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat coalition to split the opposition parties.


Without solid Malay voters behind him, Mr. Najib has no choice but to fall back to a plan he doesn’t really enjoy. Dressed in Chinese traditional costume, he was forced to act like an idiot beating Chinese drum welcoming Lunar New Year. That drama, performed 5 years ago just before the 2013 general election, had won him several Oscars for being the dumbest and silliest leader from even his circle of supporters.

Najib Razak Beat Drum - Chinese New Year- 2

Najib Razak Beat Drum - Chinese New Year

With the 14th general election around the corner, Najib Razak has once again repeated the stunt. But he had learned his lesson well. This time, he didn’t beat any silly drum, but he still beats around the bush, claiming that he was grateful to the Chinese community for its role in nation-building, and has even given his assurance that no Malaysian will be left behind as Malaysia grows.


As he shamelessly talks about the Chinese tradition of reunion and the important roles played by Chinese brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in the economic growth, Mr. Najib conveniently forgets how he had unleashed Malay extremist and racist Red Shirt movement to intimidate the Chinese, even demanded the abolishment of vernacular schools – SJKC Chinese schools.


Heck, the Red Shirt thugs had threatened to terrorize Malaysia Chinatown – Petaling Street – if not for the timely intervention of former China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang, who deliberately paid a short visit to the Chinatown, sending a message to Najib regime that China would not tolerate violence, let alone bloody racial riots targeting the Chinese community.

UMNO Red Shirts Rally Charming Message - Eliminate Chinese SJKC Vernacular Education

Chinese Ambassador Huang Hui Kang and Wife at Petaling Street Chinatown

The disgraceful MCA, on the other hand, could not even prevent the Red Shirt gangsters from threatening Chinatown, let alone protecting the Chinese community that it claims is representing. The same MCA had also played dumb when its boss PM Najib worked together with radical and extreme PAS to amend Act 355, otherwise known as Islamic Hudud Law.


Early this year, the impotent MCA and Gerakan (another component party of Najib administration) launched a joint assembly, a drama so rare that it gave rise to rumours that both struggling parties were testing water about a possible merger. Both parties begged the Chinese voters to wake up and not be fooled and cheated by opposition DAP.


Amusingly, MCA is still clueless that the Chinese voters have woken up since 2008 (12th general election). MCA President Liow Tiong Lai, whose wife was gifted a controversial RM600,000 Toyota Alphard MPV bearing registration number WSB 15 back in 2009, hopes that his party’s offer of RM100 cash and free insurance plan could prevent his party from going belly up.

Wee Ka Siong Crying in 2009 and Today

Wee Ka Siong, the MCA’s Deputy President who was booed, heckled and jeered, and narrowly missed a punch from  an “angry Uncle” in 2012, also hasn’t learned his lesson. Mr. Wee accuses Penang state government of corruption, when in fact he was involved in the PKFZ’s RM12 billion corruption scandal. Wee was caught crying like a baby when he lost in a coup against Ong Tee Kiat in 2009.


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OPEC Fighting A Losing Battle – Super Tankers & Russia Could Change The Game Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:18:13 +0000 Brent crude oil is struggling to stay above US$60 while WTI crude oil has already gone below that level. It’s a matter of time before this psychology level is tested. When the Brent couldn’t hold above US$60 a barrel anymore, all hell will break loose. It took Brent 42 days to skyrocket from US$62 to US$71. But 10 days were all it needed to plunge from US$71 to US$62.


In short, a pullback last week has wiped out its gains for 2018. And the pullback could just be the beginning of something much worse for OPEC. The year 2017 belonged to OPEC. Since the middle of 2017, oil prices have skyrocketed about 40% – from US$46 to US$66 a barrel. OPEC countries were practically laughing all the way to the bank.


How did OPEC win its battle in 2017 after lost a humiliating war in 2016 to the U.S. shale producers? They won after Saudi Arabia successfully convinced Russia and 10 other allied producers to cut production in order to clear supply glut. The output cut by 1.8 million barrels a day was working beautifully, so much so that they conveniently extended the trick to the rest of 2018.

US vs OPEC - Sheikh vs Shale Driller - Gunfight

Now, the Saudi-led oil cartel isn’t sure if they could afford to wait until the end of the year. Their magic wand isn’t working anymore. True, rising U.S. crude exports is the primary culprit. In November 2017, the U.S. oil production rose to 10.038 million barrels a day. Now, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) preliminary figures show production is running at 10.25 million barrels a day.


Effectively, the U.S. has surpassed Saudi Arabia’s output. In fact, the Americans are producing so much oil that they even sell oil to the Arabs. U.A.E., a Persian Gulf petro-state which earns endless billions of dollars from crude exports apparently bought oil directly from the U.S. in December 2017 – to the tune of 700,000 barrels of light domestic crude in that month alone.


But there’re two signs that have really gotten into the Saudi’s nerve. First sign is the emerging of super tankers in the business. This week in Louisiana, the first super tanker – “Shaden” – was chartered by Shell Oil to carry a cargo of medium sour crude. The super tanker, like U.S. Navy aircraft supercarrier, is the biggest of its kind capable of carrying 2 million barrels of crude.

Crude Oil Super Tanker

Also known as VLCC, or very large crude carrier, super tanker like Saudi-owned Shaden is a big deal in oil industry. With reports that more super tanker such as “Anne” joining the logistic business of carrying huge amount of crude, it means America is on track to become a net energy exporter by 2022 – 4 years earlier than forecasted – as predicted by the U.S. EIA.


While OPEC’s plan of draining oil glut has been working, the plan nevertheless is spoilt by none other than U.S. shale drillers – again. After Saudi delivered a “bloody nose” to the American drillers, they’re back with vengeance. OPEC’s official goal is to drive down inventories to the five-year average. It has been working – until now.


At the start of last year, there were 264 million barrels above that level. Now, they are just 52 million barrels higher than OPEC’s target. The victory is so near yet so far. On Tuesday, Paris-based International Energy Agency warned that surging U.S. production could delay OPEC’s bid to balance the long-oversupplied oil market.

US Shale Producer - Driller

“Today, having cut costs dramatically, U.S. producers are enjoying a second wave of growth so extraordinary that in 2018 their increase in liquids production could equal global demand growth,” – IEA said. What this means is America production could climb enough this year to satisfy the 1.4 million additional barrels a day that IEA forecasts the world will consume in 2018.


Even OPEC itself warned on Monday that it might not achieve its goal until the end of 2018. More importantly, IEA warns that history might be repeating itself – a history whereby the Saudi launched “a price war” on U.S. shale oil, hoping to flush high-cost U.S. drillers out of the market. Today, of course, many shale drillers proved they could keep pumping with oil prices below US$50 a barrel.


There’s a second sign which could change the oil export game in favour of America. Analysts and experts are wary of Russia’s commitment, especially as U.S. crude oil exports have surged to record highs. If the trends continue, American output will shoot to 11.2 million barrels by next year (2019); effectively overthrowing Russia as the ultimate top crude oil producer on planet Earth.

Russia Vladimir Putin Meeting With Saudi King Salman

Russia is concerned that if they do nothing, considering the United States share market is growing while the oil prices are crashing, there would be nothing left to do eventually. Russia could lose China’s market to America. Even though President Vladimir Putin and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak have assured Saudi that Russia will not abandon the deal, nothing is cast in stone.


After all, Russia’s oil and gas giants are seen as reluctant participants in the agreement with Saudi Arabia. Unlike the state-owned oil companies of OPEC, Russian energy giants are publicly-traded enterprises with shareholders. Alexander Dyukov, CEO of Russia’s Gazprom Neft, said he hoped producers would agree to raise output since the market has balanced after years of oversupply.


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Forget Winter Olympics – Kim Yo Jong Steals The Show, And U.S. News Media Love Her Too Tue, 13 Feb 2018 02:03:10 +0000 Kim Jong-un’s brutality is legendary. From siccing wild dogs on his own uncle to gunning down his enemies with anti-aircraft guns beyond recognition, the North Korean dictator has a trademark of using terrifying but creative methods to kill. But when it comes to his most trusted sister, 30-year-old ponytailed Kim Yo Jong, it’s a totally different story.


As the 2018 Winter Olympics opened in South Korea, it was Dictator Kim’s sister who steals the thunder. Kim Yo Jong was dispatched by his brother to lead North Korea team on a special mission – to charm South Koreans and subsequently the world. And Ms. Kim has done a marvellous job, so much so that she is being called the Ivanka Trump of North Korea.


However, unlike lavish First Daughter Ivanka Trump, people were impressed with First Sister Kim Yo Jong for a different reason. Her lack of bling, plain black outfits, simple purse and barely makeup make Ms. Kim a lovable Korean lady. Even American news media appear to love Kim Yo Jong more than President Donald Trump and other U.S. leaders.


North Korea Kim Yo Jong - 2018 Winter Olympics - Smile Simple

CNN couldn’t hide its excitement and admiration for Kim Jong-un’s sister. ” If ‘diplomatic dance were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister would be favoured to win gold,” – CNN proudly published. Armed with a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea’s presidential guest book, there’s little doubt that she has already won the gold medal.


In her guest book message, Kim Yo Jong wrote – “I hope Pyongyang and Seoul get closer in our people’s hearts and move forward the future of prosperous unification.” To many foreigners, Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, could easily be mistaken as Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, as both sounds quite similar. Trump administration, however, isn’t impressed with Ms. Kim.


In what appeared to be a tactical move by Kim Jong-un, the world only learned of his sister’s visit at the eleventh hour. As the first member of the North’s ruling dynasty to visit the South since the Korean War ended in 1953, Kim on Saturday made headlines across the globe when she delivered an invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit North Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in with North Korean Kim Yo-jong

South Korean President Moon Jae-in with North Korean Kim Yo-jong - Walking Together

The historic meeting between both individuals of the North and South held at Seoul’s presidential palace is seen as more important than U.S. President Trump’s visit to South Korea recently. This could be the beginning of unification between both countries, a process which doesn’t gel very well with America since their influence over South Korea could be diluted.


Their father – Kim Jong Il – is believed to have 7 children from 4 women. But only Kim Jong Un and Kim Yo Jong have the same mother, Ko Yong Hui, hence the close relationship and extraordinary trust between them. With very few people Jong Un can trust, Yo Jong is one of them and is perhaps the most influential person in the dictator’s life.


In fact, Kim Jong Un trusted his sister so much that he entrusted her to briefly took charge of the country while he was reportedly ill with gout or diabetes in late 2014. As Kim’s personal representative to South Korea, the impact of Ms. Kim cannot be underestimated. CNN reveals that South Koreans have begun warming up – even admiring – the simple and down to earth Kim Yo Jong.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in with North Korean Kim Yo-jong - Shaking Hands 2

Given sufficient time and opportunity, Yo Jong could become a powerful propaganda tool to pressure pro-American South Korea leaders to at least explore the possibility of a Korea unification. Well, at least CNN has started the ball-rolling with positive coverage about Ms. Kim, something which the U.S. mainstream media doesn’t even give to President Trump.


“Kim Yo Jong is the perfect counterpart to this. And it also is a signal that North Korea is not this crazy, weird former Cold War state – but it too has young women that are capable and are the future leadership,” – wrote CNN. Similarly, the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC and Reuters have all positive coverage on the North Korean’s princess.


New York Times tweeted – “Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un’s sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy.” However, not everyone was impressed that American liberal mainstream media gave glowing headlines and endorsements of Kim Jong Un regime. Many think that the songs of praise for the hermit kingdom has gotten out of hand.

North Korea Kim Yo Jong outflanked US Vice President Mike Pence

Articles from Washington Post and BBC that compared Kim to Ivanka Trump were vilified for similar reasons. But like it or not, Kim and Ivanka do have something in common. Both ladies got their powerful jobs – as First Sister and First Daughter – because their brother and daddy is the most powerful man in their own countries.


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China Geely Introduces Meritocracy – But Handicapped Proton “Bumiputeras” Aren’t Happy Mon, 12 Feb 2018 05:15:50 +0000 In December 2017, about 6 months after China automaker Geely agreed to acquire 49.9% stake in Malaysia home-grown but ailing carmaker Proton, 28 top Proton dealers were taken on a trip to visit Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd in China. The 28 Proton’s top sales and service centre owners were both impressed and flabbergasted from their trip to Shanghai.


Ryan Lai, director of LHM One Stop, a Proton 4S center, said – “The service centre has a waiting lounge that looks similar to that of a five-star hotel. Usually, the atmosphere can only be experienced by European premium car owners but Geely is offering such a service to customers.” Mr. Ryan was also amazed by the quality of Boyue, which reminded him of premium German SUV back home.


Geely Boyue is set to be introduced as Proton’s first SUV in Malaysia this year. It was quite funny that while Proton has been fantasizing about electric cars and even flying cars, they couldn’t seem to make a decent SUV for Malaysia, a home-grown market which they had dominated for decades until the emergence of Perodua – a 10 years younger brother.

Proton Journey - First Saga Car

Proton, of course, was one of many Mahathir’s pet projects which had become zero from hero. Established in 1983, Proton used to dominate the local market, commanding 80% share once upon a time but has since deteriorated to only 13% in 2017. Dr. Li Chunrong, a 30-year auto veteran knew about the history of the 35-year-old Proton before he steps his foot on Malaysian soil.


Dr. Li knew about the classic “power window” problems – and jokes – associated with Proton cars before he officially takes over the role of Proton CEO beginning October 1st, 2017. Although he was amused it would take decades for Proton to solve a simple problem such as power-window, Li Chunrong also heard about corruption practise in Malaysia.


Besides Dr. Li Chunrong, the acquisition also saw the “invasion of China” in order to turn around Proton – CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Daniel Donghui Li and Hong Kong-listed Geely Auto group Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Feng Qing Feng as well as Geely international business vice president Dr Nathan Yu Ning as nominees to the board of Proton Holdings.

Geely-Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong

But what shocked Proton’s new CEO and his comrades from China the most wasn’t the poor quality of Proton or rampant corruption in Malaysia. After all, China was once top producer of inferior products and corruption. Instead, the Chinese were shocked and electrified by the Proton’s culture of excessive racism intertwining with nepotism and cronyism.


From cooking “kangkong (water spinach)” at Proton canteen to competing on level playing field, the Chinese management team could have finally found their real challenge. As the Chinese struggle to put the newly acquired foreign asset on the right track of profitability and competitiveness, a group of ethnic-Malay isn’t impressed with the new way of running the company.


The “Pekema” (Malaysian Association of Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders) claimed bumiputera distributors are facing subtle discrimination and may soon be replaced by non-bumiputera distributors. The term “bumiputera”, loosely translates to “son of the land”, is something which CEO Dr. Li Chunrong found quite frustrating yet entertaining.

Proton Car Salesroom

As efficiency and competition are two words fabulously alien to Malaysian bumiputera, of whom are mostly ethnic-Malays, Proton’s new direction for its distributors to upgrade from a 1S (sales only) centre to an integrated 3S (sales, service and spare parts) centre within a year was seen as a mission which is simply too impossible to achieve.


Pekema president Zainuddin Abdul Rahman claimed that most of the 3S centres are run by non-bumiputera (mostly local ethnic-Chinese) and 1S centres by bumiputera (ethnic-Malay). Therefore, Mr. Zainuddin accused Geely Chinese of trying to kill off ethnic-Malay simply because the persons in charge of Proton’s development and sales are (mainland) Chinese.


Without him realizing, Pekema is admitting that ethnic-Malays are inferior, even in comparison to local Malaysian ethnic-Chinese. Mr. Zainuddin also essentially admits that for the last 35 years, the Malays could only survive because of unfair preferential treatment at the expense of Chinese. But the real humiliation is this – Chinese could somehow prosper even under discrimination.

Pekema President Zainuddin Abdul Rahman

Zainuddin also claims that Proton will only allow 3S distributors to sell the upcoming Boyue model. It appears that the Chinese Geely is gearing to not only jumpstart local distributors to be competitive globally, but also to be providers of excellent customer service while improving overall quality by cloning the same business model from China – and the pampered bumiputeras aren’t happy about it.


Perhaps Pekema hasn’t heard of value-added services. Gone were the days where distributors could enjoy good sales and commissions without lifting a finger. Proton sales personnel, who used to be extremely arrogant during the good old time, are not only struggling but also competing with each other for sales today.


Hence, in order to attract sales and long-term revenue, a Proton distributor has to offer  additional values such as service and spare parts, not only sales alone. The business-savvy local Chinese knew that and has been investing their hard-earned profits back into their companies by gradually upgrading them to integrated 3S (sales, service and spare parts) centres, unlike the bumiputera.

Geely Boyue SUV

Now that Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. wants to move forward to improve Proton, those integrated 3S centres – who happens to be local Chinese-owned – are ready to rock and roll. Does Pekema really think that the Chinese giant with a market capitalization of over US$200 billion would give a crap about some weak, lazy and pampered bumiputera salesmen unready to compete?


Pekema president Zainuddin Abdul Rahman also tried to bring racism into business by whining and bitching about the corporate discounts given by Proton, such as that given to the Federation of Hokkien Association of Malaysia. But having a special discount wasn’t a new policy introduced by the Proton’s new management team.


Its common business practice in the automotive industry to offer corporate sales discounts based on bulk purchase and fleet sales. Of course, Malaysia is the only country in the world that when the government purchase in bulk, the prices would normally jacked up – instead of lowered – to meet corruption and under table “coffee money” practices.

Proton Service Center

With Geely running the show, apparently bumiputera such as Pekema is at the receiving end and couldn’t face the reality of business world. Lacking basic fundamentals such as hard work, persistence, resilience and meritocracy, those “handicapped sons of the land” have transformed into crying babies who throw tantrums because their candies have been taken away.


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Bloodbath Continues – Stocks Plunge 1,032 Points – Here’s The Biggest Culprits!! Fri, 09 Feb 2018 05:40:34 +0000 What do number 666, 1175 and 1032 numbers have in common? They’re obviously nice number for punters wishing to strike jackpot at 4D betting outlets. As the Chinese Lunar New Year is around the corner, perhaps placing a small bet on those numbers isn’t a bad idea after all. But in the U.S. stock markets, those numbers are disastrous.


With very few investors realized that the 666 points – believed to be a devil number used to invoke Satan – tumble last Friday was actually the beginning of something huge, the world stock markets were awestruck with a subsequent 1,175 points plunge on Monday. Still, like any apocalypse, people weren’t convinced the party is finally over.


Tuesday and Wednesday failed to deliver the expected recovery one would hope for in order to convincingly rubbish a stock meltdown is happening. Thursday pretty much confirms that the Super Bull Run is over. And as the bull is licking its wound, it would take a while before the bullish market – if ever there will be one to continue with – could stage a comeback.

US Stock Market - Dow Jones - Crashed 1032 Points - Scoreboard

After much bickering, now everyone agrees though, that the U.S. stock markets are entering the correction stage, after DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) erased 1,032.89 points at the closing bell on Thursday. This is the third drop of greater than 500 points for Dow in the last 5 days. But what is impressive – and scary – is not the Dow but the S&P 500.


With S&P 500 – a stock market index based on the market capitalizations of 500 large companies – pulling back 3.75% or 100.66 points to close at 2,581, the stocks look even gloomier. After breaking below its 50-day moving average on Monday, S&P 500 has essentially broke 100-day moving average on Thursday, not to mention closing below 2,600 thresholds.


While Friday’s 665.75 points drop was mind-boggling, the Monday’s 1,175 becomes the biggest drop in points in a single day ever in the history of U.S. stock markets. Thursday’s 1,032 points loss is now the second worst, a stunning milestone within 5 days of stocks trading on Wall Street. The third place remains with 777.68 points crash during financial crisis on 28 September 29, 2008.

US Stock Market Crash 2018 - Dow Jones Wild Ride

Again, the Thursday’s 1,032 points plunge, the second collapse of more than 1,000 points in less than a week, was blamed on U.S. Treasury bonds yield. The benchmark 10-year U.S. note yield rose to 2.88% before weakening slightly to 2.851% on Thursday. Analysts, economists and specialists are now worried that the 10-year yields could jump to above 3% fairly quickly.


Mark Cabana, head of U.S. short rate strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, thinks it’s highly likely that the 10-year U.S. note yield would reach the 2.9% level. When that happens, the next level of interest would be 2.98% and then 3.28%. The 10-year is the benchmark best known to investors, and its yield influences a whole range of loans, including home mortgages.


The game is pretty simple to the strategists, investors and fund managers. Like the London Eye giant Ferris wheel, if the bond yields go up, you have to sell stocks. If you sell stocks, and the stocks (hopefully) crash, yields come back down. Then the game at the casino stock markets continue and the process repeats again.

US Stock Market Crash 2018 - Trader Reaction on Trading Floor

However, the tricky part is that nobody knows how much shares to sell, hence the crash, in order for the yields to come down in a meaningful way so that both stocks and bonds markets find the “correct equilibrium” – and thereafter stabilizes. But the main problem is not even that. The question that not even investors could answer is how high yields can go from here onwards.


Now that S&P 500 has shed 10%, a whopping US$2.5 trillion in market value has been wiped out from the U.S. stocks market. Globally, US$5.2 trillion (while the rest of the world is bleeding after Thursday’s 1,032 points tumble) has vanished. Still, it would take S&P 500 to lose another US$3.55 trillion – the gain made since Trump election in November 2016.


But why even go there and blame the yields which are spooked by inflation, which in turn is blamed on Federal Reserve, or Trump’s tax reform, or electronic market done by computers, when the real culprit could be the hidden hands – the market makers? Whether it is the humans or computers, the market makers are the biggest trigger of stock market crashes.

Finger Pointing

Sure, blame it on the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, arguably the single most popular trade on Wall Street where tons of people make money by “buy the dip and sell the VIX”. Here’s how they make money. Large investment houses, which also include large insurance companies, have purchased stocks at every opportunity and during every minor pullback.


But at the same time, they also shorted the CBOE VIX amid expectations that market moves would be contained, even as the market continued a steady and spectacular uptrend. And just like the older version of VIX which ultimately caused the “Crash of 1987”, today’s VIX surged to levels so high that it was immeasurable – and eventually crashed!


When the stocks market crashed on Monday, the so-called VIX tumbled 85%. And who was the market maker of VIX? It’s none other than big boy Credit Suisse. Although the Credit Suisse has since pulled the plug on the gambling game called VIX,  SEC filing shows that partners in crime includes top holders Deutsche Asset Management, Citadel Advisors, Flow Traders, and Two Sigma.

Credit Suisse - Building and Flag


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Oil Crashes!!! U.S. Produces So Much Oil That They Even Sell To The Arabs Thu, 08 Feb 2018 03:15:18 +0000 The Friday-Monday stock markets crash should serve a reminder to investors and speculators about the basic fundamental of investing – whatever goes up must comes down – eventually. As experts and economists are now locking horns debating whether the stocks have seen the worst of it, or this could be just the beginning, another commodity has started crashing.


Crude oil appears to be crashing after reaching the psychology US$70 level, but has failed to breach beyond that in a meaningful way. The Brent Crude Oil has tumbled to US$65 level, arguably an important support level. If it could not hold at this level, it would flirt within US$64 and US$62 region. And that’s bad news to Saudi Arabia and Arab producers.


Oil prices fell after U.S. government data showed America crude and fuel stockpiles rose last week, while American shale drillers continue to increase production. The commodity which was caught in a broad market sell-off during the scary Friday-Monday’s 666-point and 1,175-point sell-off has chosen to extend its losses even though the U.S. stock markets have temporarily recovered.

US Oil Tanker at Port

Brent Crude Oil Prices Chart - 8Feb2018

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), America crude inventories rose by 1.9 million barrels to 420.3 million in the week through February 2, thanks largely to a build-up of stockpiles in the Gulf Coast refining hub. Stockpiles of gasoline and distillate fuels such as diesel also rose unexpectedly by 3.4 million barrels and 3.9 million barrels respectively.


After it was revealed last week that for the first time since 1970 – almost 50 years – the U.S. oil production tops 10-million barrels a day, the American oil producers haven’t looked back. In November 2017, the U.S. oil production rose to 10.038 million barrels a day. Now, EIA preliminary figures show production is running at 10.25 million barrels a day.


Rubbing salt into Middle East’s injury, EIA on Tuesday forecast U.S. production will average 10.6 million barrels a day this year, enough to continue surpassing output from Saudi Arabia. If the trends continue, American output will shoot to 11.2 million barrels by next year (2019); effectively overthrowing Russia as the ultimate top crude oil producer on planet Earth.

US Shale Producer - Driller

As a matter of fact, the United States produces so much oil that they manage to sell a fridge to an Eskimo, metaphorically speaking. It would be insane in the past to think that the Arabs would one day buy oil from America. Yet, the unbelievable has actually happened. And that Eskimo who has just bought a fridge from America is none other than U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates).


The U.A.E., a Persian Gulf petro-state which earns endless billions of dollars from crude exports apparently bought oil directly from the U.S. in December 2017. Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration reveals that a tanker, carrying a type of very light crude oil, sailed from Houston and arrived in the Persian Gulf last month.


That tanker – Seoul Spirit – shipped the cargo from Enterprise Products Partners LP’s Houston terminal and arrived on January 31 at the Port of Ruwais in Abu Dhabi. In December 2017 alone, the U.S. exported about 700,000 barrels of light domestic crude to the U.A.E. The Middle Eastern nation had relied on Qatar for its supply but discontinued the practice since a political crisis.

United Arab Emirates Dubai Skyscrapper

After 40 years at the mercy of Arab nations, everything went upside down on January 2016 when America started loading oil tanker – Theo T – to send its first shipment of crude oil to a Dutch oil-trading powerhouse – Vitol Group. Of course, none of that would happen if not for the end of a ban on U.S. exports in 2015, which in turn trigger the explosive growth of shale production.


Shipments from U.S. ports have increased from a little more than 100,000 barrels a day in 2013 to 1.53 million in November 2017, travelling as far as China and the U.K. Essentially, the flow of petroleum around the world has changed. OPEC cartel leader Saudi Arabia is now caught between a rock and a hard place. The kingdom is now losing market share as well as failing to keep the oil prices high.


The IMF (International Monetary Fund) had revealed that in order to achieve zero deficits in 2017, Saudi’s breakeven oil price is US$73.10. Assuming that is still true for the financial year 2018, which is not because the Saudis had announced a budget of US$261 billion, the kingdom’s largest ever, the present weakening oil prices is obviously disturbing.

US vs OPEC - Sheikh vs Shale Driller - Gunfight


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Watch Out North Korea!! – Trump To Show Off American Military Parade This Year Wed, 07 Feb 2018 05:34:45 +0000 Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump has given an order to the United States’ highest-ranking officials. Nope, he is not about to launch a nuclear attack on defiant North Korea. But if he couldn’t get the satisfaction of bombing his biggest rhetoric enemy, Kim Jong-un, at least he wants to show off American power – a military parade – in Washington.


After all, Trump had said he has a bigger nuclear button than Kim. The U.S. president reportedly issued the order during a January 18th meeting with his top generals in the Pentagon’s tank – a room reserved for top-secret discussions. According to anonymous military officials, Trump said – “I want a parade like the one in France.”


While the White House said it was merely a “brainstorming”, the Washington Post reveals plans are actually underway to satisfy President Trump’s latest desire. Defence Department spokesman Thomas Crosson said – “We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details. We will share more information throughout the planning process.”

US President Donald Trump with French President Emmanuel Macron - Bastille Day Celebration

Apparently, Trump was inspired by France’s Bastille Day celebration in Paris last year, of which he was invited to attend by French President Emmanuel Macron. The U.S. Commander-in-Chief was impressed by the tableau of uniformed French troops marching down Avenue des Champs-Elysees with military tanks, armoured vehicles, gun trucks and fighter jets.


Later, aboard Air Force One en route home from Paris, aides said Trump told them that he was dazzled by the French display and that he wanted one at home. Two months later in September, both Trump and Macron met again in New York at the United Nations General Assembly and the former remarked how he enjoyed watching France’s Bastille Day military parade in Paris.


President Trump told reporters – “It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen. We may do something like that on July 4th in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue. We’re going to have to try to top it, but we have a lot of planes going over and a lot of military might, and it was really a beautiful thing to see and representatives from different wars and different uniforms.”

US President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania - Bastille Day Military Parade

The U.S. president prefers a military parade to be held on a patriotic holiday – such as Memorial Day on May 28, or Independence Day celebration on July 4th. However, Pentagon prefers Veterans Day on Nov. 11 – in part because it would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the victorious end of World War I and therefore be less associated with the president and politics.


It’s also unknown if Trump will get his wish to have the parade to proceed along Pennsylvania Avenue, which links the Capitol and the White House and would be the same route as Trump’s inaugural parade and pass by his family’s property – Trump International Hotel. Obviously, it would boost the business of his family hotel there.


Once the owner of Miss Universe Organization, it’s only natural that Trump loves to show off beautiful, glamorous and mighty American military machines to the world. The military parade could be Trump’s once in a lifetime opportunity to show off – once and for all – particularly Kim Jong-un, that he is the ultimate and most powerful man in the world.

US vs North Korea - Donald Trump vs Kim Jong-un

Unlike countries such as North Korea, China or Russia, the United States does not get to show military parade every year. Russia hosts their annual Victory Day military parade in Moscow in May to mark the defeat of Nazi Germany. China also has regular military parades in Beijing showing its increasing military might – ranging from troops, mobile missile launchers, tanks and new stealth fighter jets.


There’s a reason why the United States has traditionally shied away from parading its military assets. A military parade is often associated with a totalitarian country, something which is the opposite of American’s belief. Additionally, such military parade is unnecessary as it’s a public knowledge that the U.S. is already the global superpower.


In fact, the last major military parade held in Washington was in 1991 to mark victory in Operation Desert Storm, the first Persian Gulf War. That parade 27 years ago had chewed up US$8 million in cost, not to mention involved thousands of troops, nearly a dozen bands, and a fleet of missiles, tanks and the flyover of more than 100 aircraft.

US Military Parade - World War 1

The 1991 parade reportedly was paid for with about US$3 million in U.S. government funds and the remainder from private donations. At a time when Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and his top generals have been complaining about the state of military readiness and lobbying Congress for more money, it would be seen as wastage to pull a parade stunt because Trump wants to look great.


Although the White House claims that President Trump wants to do something that highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country, critics said the idea was nothing but “narcissist” Trump’s appetite to brag, which could potentially provoke North Korea Kim Jong-un with more playground nicknames and threats.


There were also criticisms that Donald Trump does not deserve honouring the American soldiers since he did not serve in the armed forces, avoiding 5 drafts during the Vietnam War by claiming bone spurs. However, a military parade, no matter how pretentious Trump is, would go a long way to lure votes as 2018 midterm elections is approaching.

North Korea’s New Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

Still, there’s a question of how much Trump’s military parade plans to show off. North Korea is scheduled to have a massive military parade on Thursday – a day ahead of the opening of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Mr. Kim would certainly display the latest ballistic missiles and other military hardware. Will Trump insist of parading American ballistic missiles too?


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