Friday, January 29, 2010

Markets Will Tank Any Day Now!

The renowned investment guru Jim Rogers has another tip for investors like you and me. Wait for a moment or two if you have chosen to cast this post aside rightaway. Spend a precious minute of yours to have a quick read of the following extract of a report by Julie Crawshaw.

Global equities are "vulnerable to correction" after rallying from their March lows and as governments around the world withdraw stimulus measures, says investor Jim Rogers."We're overdue for a correction" Rogers says. "Stock markets around the world have been going up for the past 10 months," he told Bloomberg.Also, Rogers says central banks need to tighten the money supply further.“I don’t think anybody has tightened enough. I think everybody should tighten more," he notes. “We have huge amounts of money printed throughout the world. It’s going to cause currency instability. It’s going to cause more inflation. It’s going to cause higher interest rates.”The Congressional Budget Office has called the U.S. budget outlook "bleak," in a forecast that hurts the chances for extending Bush-era tax cuts and raises pressure for fiscal belt-tightening, The Wall Street Journal reports.

I have personally benefited tremendously from the insights and foresight of Jim Rogers.

Have a good day!
Sibuians now call Rajang River a yellow river. Behind the scene is some sad truth. Photo: Meng Lei or Steve Ling (I lost the source record)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Further Sinking Likely!

Dan Weil of Moneynews has the following to share about this year's stock markets. Take a look at it and give some thinking to your investments.

Stock market rallies are likely to fizzle during the second half of the year in developed economies, says investment guru Nouriel Roubini.That’s because sluggish economic recovery will curb gains in corporate earnings, the New York University professor maintains.“The real economy is gradually recovering, but since March, asset prices have gone through the roof,” Roubini said in a recent speech, according to Bloomberg. “If I’m correct, by the second half of the year, there’s going to be a slowdown of growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan," he said. "That could be the beginning of a market correction because the macroeconomic news is going to surprise on the downside.” Commodities are likely to escape the decline thanks to strong demand from emerging markets, Roubini says.But he sees trouble ahead for emerging markets too. Asset bubbles brewing there, if left unchecked, could trigger an “unraveling and a significant correction of asset prices which will be damaging to global and regional economic growth,” Roubini said.“In emerging markets economies like China and India, inflation is already returning to positive levels because there’s high economic growth and policy boosts.” Roubini isn’t alone in his views on emerging markets. Even perennial bull Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Franklin Templeton Investments, says a correction is in order.“We continue to see upside, but with substantial corrections along the way, which could be as much as 20 percent,” he told The New York Times.
The picture shows me posing with a group of photographers at Buy Malaysian Expo 2009 held at Sibu Trade & Exhibition Centre.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A New Year Cake For The Star

I handed over this house-made cake to Philip Hii to convey our greetings to The Star.

Philip just joined the nation's largest English daily as a journalist. He is to be based in Sibu.

As there is no bureau yet for Sibu, so I had to ask Philip to personally pick up the cake from Premier Hotel.

According to my understanding, The Star's local edition shall be launched in March. This is going to send a new wave of excitement to the readers here.

We look forward to receiving the birth of the edition.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Stocks Slide For Third Day!

Unless you take action now — and I do mean RIGHT NOW — your stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and even your retirement accounts could get CREAMED again in the next few weeks.
Many of the gains you made in 2009 could be obliterated.
How do I know this?
The same MARKET TIMING SYSTEM that flashed emergency red in mid-2008 — accurately predicting the 2008 stock market wipeout — is sounding the alarm once again.
And this MARKET TIMING SYSTEM is accurate — it also flashed emergency green in early 2009 to capture profits in the mega-rally.
Let's look at the evidence for a looming crash:
FACT 1: The recent trend of insider transactions and mutual fund flows clearly indicates that the demand for stocks fell sharply during the past few months ($11 billion withdrawn from the market in one month alone).
FACT 2: The investment research firm TrimTabs reports that CEOs and other top executives have sold 40 times more of their shares than they have bought.
FACT 3: The recent U.S. GDP report indicates that this economic "recovery" has been weaker than any other one since the 1930s

The above message came as a stunning warning to the global stock markets. You may choose to ignore it. But it is worth your while to give some thinking to it.

Have a good weekend!

The picture shows Sibu in a hazy condition last year.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Big Hurray For The Federal Court's Judgement

Friday January 22, 2010
It’s no longer legal to buy land from fraudulent ‘owner’
PUTRAJAYA: A decade-old decision by the Federal Court has finally been corrected in a rare joint effort by the entire legal fraternity including the four highest ranking judges – leading to a landmark decision by the apex court.
It is now no longer legal for anyone to buy a piece of land from another person who got hold of the property through fraudulent means.
Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria, one of the five-man Bench presiding over the case, said it was “highly regrettable that it had taken some time before this contentious issue was put to rest”.
The Bench ruled yesterday that the decision in the contentious Adorna Properties case was wrong. In that case, the then Chief Justice Tun Eusoffe Chin had ruled that the person whose property was “stolen” via forged documents could not take legal action against the third party who bought the land from the “thief”.
The opposing parties in yesterday’s case, which had similar facts and circumstances as the Adorna case, submitted to the country’s highest court to overturn the decision and the justices gladly obliged and erased a blemish in the country’s judicial pride.
“I am legally obligated to restate the law since the error committed in Adorna Properties is so obvious and blatant,” declared Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi.
“It is quite a well-known fact that some unscrupulous people have been taking advantage of this error by falsely transferring titles to themselves. I hope that with this decision, the land authorities will be extra cautious when registering transfers,” Justice Zaki ruled in his four-page supporting written judgment.
The Bench also held that the judges in the Adorna Properties case had misconstrued a proviso in the Section 340 of the National Land Code (NLC) 1965.
“If it can be shown that the title was obtained by forgery or misrepresentation, the buyer’s claim can be defeated,” said Justice Zaki.
In the case before the Federal Court yesterday, Pahang landowner Tan Yin Hong had appealed against a Court of Appeal’s decision last year, which had relied heavily on the Adorna Properties case.
When it was first brought to court in 1987, Yin Hong had named one Tan Sian San (a person he said had forged his signature to use the land for a bank loan), Cini Timber Indus-tries Sdn Bhd and United Malayan Banking Corporation Bhd (now known as RHB Bank) as respondents in his suit.
In 1985, he received a letter from the bank demanding a repayment for a sum amounting to RM309,000 for an overdraft facility given by the bank to Cini Timber Industries using his land as security.
In 1987, he filed a suit against the bank but lost his case in 2003 as the High Court was bound by the judgment in the Adorna Properties case.
Yesterday, the Federal Court ruled that the bank’s charges against Yin Hong could be set aside as these were based on void instruments and awarded him RM75,000 in costs.
Strangely enough, both Cini and RHB were in favour of yesterday’s judgment.
Related Stories:Oil palm firm told to return land to Ibans
The picture shows an ugly scene of land-burning in Sibu last year.

A Big Thank-You To Eastern Times!

I dropped in the bureau of Eastern Times this afternoon to say "thank you" with our house-made cake.

Roger Duyong, Senior Reporter of ET, has never failed me. I admire his obliging disposition. Roger is professional and great in his discharge of duties.

Again, a little cake just couldn't say it all.

The picture shows a staff member of ET receiving the cake from me. Photo: Roger Duyong

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thank You Very Much, My Press Friends!

It has been a wonderful experience working together with the local press friends. They have made every session of press release a heartwarming time for me.

At times we feel indebted to this group of reporters. Truly they have done their part in contributing to the local tourism.

Yesterday (January 18) I went out sending New Year cakes to the local dailies (The Borneo Post, See Hua Daily News, United Daily & Sin Chew Daily) amidst heavy downpour as a token of appreciation.

The house-made cakes were just too small to say it all to the press!
The first picture shows Yong, Chief Reporter of See Hua Daily News, receiving the cake from me. Photo: Roger Tiong of See Hua Daily News

The second picture shows Nicholas Lo, Chief Reporter of The Borneo Post, receiving the cake from me. Photo: Conny of The Borneo Post

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 50

In his response to Tan Kee Hian's forum on "Sibu In The Blue Ocean", Councillor Robert Lau presented his views on the potentials of Sibu in an article "Sibu In The Blue Ocean". Robert Lau's thoughtful presentation of his version of the vision for Sibu is a worthwhile reading.

Besides practising as a lawyer, Robert Lau also sets his feet on plantation. Zeal-driven to serve Sibuians, Robert Lau is rising in his political career, albeit on low profile. Like most of the Sibuians, he believes that there is a way out for Sibu.

Robert Lau's article was originally pasted on the website of MPI Forum. I reproduce it here for the benefits of more readers. You are most welcome to respond to Councillor Robert Lau's views.



What is our dream for Sibu?
What do we want Sibu to be?
What can we do to achieve the dream?
How to get the sleeping/slumbering Giant to rise again?
Where do we go from here?
Who will lead? Who do we rely on? The Government? Self help?

My dream, my vision for Sibu:


-Career implies the aspiring young adults and the educated

-Family implies safe, healthy and clean environment. It also implies good education system for the young, rewarding employment for the breadwinner of the family and a caring environment for the elderly.

Sibu a hundred years ago was a swamp land with and an outpost of the Brooke Government. It has transformed to what it is today through sheer hard work, innovation, determination and blessing from God. It was mainly based on self help.

Sibu was planned to be the farm that feeds Sarawak. Migrants were farmers. However, the migrants were not successful in farming. Instead, they ventured into rubber and wealth flowed. The teeming jungle was tamed and converted to rubber estates, entirely on the small holders set up. The economy moved into timber and unimaginable wealth ensued. Sibu is now known as the world capital for tropical timber.

Sibu is in fact the tropical timber hub for the world

Unfortunately, industry players do not realize and / or unable to capitalize on this leading and advantageous position. The timber industry created the Dutch Disease – the unimaginable wealth flowed and anything else seemed unattractive.

However, there is hope as citizen of Sibu still has the traits for success - the hardworking attitude, high savings and strong emphasis on education.

Sibu in a way is suffering from its own success, in particular viewing from the angle of education. The parents put so much emphasis on their children education that there are a high percentage of graduates. There are plenty of talents coming from Sibu; however, Sibu was and still is not able to absorb mist of these graduates as the industry here is very limited and basic. In addition, these talents have become global citizens and they will go to places that offer the best opportunities. The vast majority of graduates that return fall broadly into 3 categories: 1st, the professionals like doctors, lawyers and accountants; 2nd those whose family have very established business where the graduated children return to be groomed to take over the business; and 3rd those who return for family and sentimental reason. The 1st group will return as there is always a demand for them and the opportunities are there. It is a controlled market. However, when there are too many, then some will leave for the bigger cities.

Sibu very rarely attracts outside talents. The only group is the spouses of those who are from Sibu and their other half has to return to Sibu to work.

There is no magical way or shortcut to achieving the aim of making Sibu the preferred choice for our children. Sibu has to compete with the world as our children will be global citizen. That is a high standard no doubt and the burden very heavy. Sibu has to leverage on whatever advantage it has. We have to start with the industry where we have an advantage and employ the talents to work in that industry with the vision of expanding and improving on the existing technology. We have to set a higher benchmark and let others play catch-up with our standard. What are the industries where we are at an advantage? Three come into mind. First is the timber industry. Sibu businessmen control the world tropical timber market. This group can collaborate and protect the market, instead of competing with each other on a zero sum game. Why let the customer dictates the price and terms?

Second, is the ship building industry. Sibu is renowned for building small and medium size vessels. Are we taking advantage on this by improving on technology, R & D? We are doing the subcontracting work. We should be moving up the food chain. Why not be the centre for design and build; financing, repair and services related to shipping industry?

Third is the oil palm industry. Sarawak is a new player in Malaysia compare to West Malaysia and Sabah. There is one area where we are at the frontier and that is peat development. We have plenty of peat land and how to use them sustainably and environmentally is a big challenge. Some see this as a problem. Why not see this as a challenge that holds great promises? Our talented children can work on this area by doing research. The world is trying to learn from us. Let’s lead the world. The 2 seminars organized by the locals on peat soil development have attracted international participation. Have we capitalizing on this?

There is another area which we can possible exploit. Sibu probably produce the most number of doctors relative to its population in Malaysia and that is without a local tertiary educational institution that provide for medical course. Can we tape into this pool by staring a tertiary educational institution on this field and linked it to the industry – a world class private hospital, health care for the old and other related industry.

All the above industries require plenty of capital, time, energy and the willingness to take risk. Can Sibu take up the challenge?

Robert Lau

5th December 2009


The picture shows Councillor Robert Lau (left) at Tan Kee Hian's forum "Sibu In The Blue Ocean". Photo: Liong

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 49

Tan Kee Hian concluded an evening of Blue Ocean Journey with a challenge to all the Sibuians:

Join the Blue Ocean Journey of Sibu! Together let us make Little Foochow the first in Malaysia to achieve "High-Income" Ststus!

I am thankful to Tan Kee Hian for his much-needed assistance in this series.

It is indeed an encouragement that a total of approximately 168 responses in the form of comments have been received by the series. Most of them are pretty thought-provoking, making them worth your while to give further thinking to.

Let us keep it up!

The picture shows some "newspaper boys" at Market Road, Sibu in 1970s. Photo: Philip Hii of The Star

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How Are You, Mate?

Pre-Departure Briefing Cum Fellowship grouped together some 60 plus students and parents for a shoulder-rubbing time at Premier Hotel on January 10 at 2:00 pm. It was pretty much a get-to-know-you session in an informal way.

The turnout was encouraging enough for SAGA Central to move on to organise another one next year.

Dr. Hu Chang Hock kicked off the afternoon with an Australian slang: G' Day! How are you, mate?

That sounded familiar and it echoed in my ears for a while. A sea of memories of my life at Monash University, Australia then flew back to me and I indulged completely in the old times for a few moments before I woke up to Dr. Hu's introductory talk.

Vincent Lau then took over the stage to give his address. In his usual scholarly style, he tipped the freshies off with pointers. Vincent Lau also chipped in with some humour to send the audience to laughters.

We then posed for a family photo (in the exact words of Dr. Hu) before proceeding to break-up into groups according to states for sharing of information/life experiences.

It was a good two-hour chit-chat over some snacks and hot beverages. From the response we gathered, it was a fruitful session and it helped the first-timers.


Photo: Roger Tiong of See hua Daily News

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Allen Going For National Service

The 4th of January took Allen onto a new journey leading him to an exciting arena of life experience - National Service.

When Allen and his buddies learned of their selection for NS months ago, they wrote in to the National Service Department requesting for preference of batch and camp. The department responded with a courtesy reply, asking them to check on the department's website in due course.

When the postings came out, they all didn't get what they wished for. Instead of Sibu, they were destined for Bintulu. Nontheless, it was still a wow since Similajau Camp is fascinating in many ways. They decided to take it.

Sibu Town Square was a bustling place where all the trainees assembled for embarkation and going off. The whole of the place was jam-packed under scorching sun. Yian was there to see Allen off.

Some junior youth fellowshippers of Hwai Ang Methodist Church turned out to give Allen morale support and give him a much-needed cheer!

I have always admired uniformed training with strict discipline. I am sure NS which is essentially paramilitary service would be a good exposure for Allen.


Photo source: United Daily News

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pre-Departure Briefing Cum Fellowship By SAGA Central

It was a heartwarming press session in Vincent Lau's office when SAGA committee members met up with the local reporters on an upcoming Pre-Departure Briefing Cum Fellowship to be held on January 10 at Premier Hotel at 2:00 pm.

The briefing cum fellowship aimed at giving Australia-bound first-timer students a tip-off of Australian life. SAGA Central also doubled the function up for SAGA members, Australian graduates and existing students to have a get-together.

Parents of the first-timers are welcome.

The picture shows (left to right) Ling Ming Leh, Dr. Hu Chang Hock, Vincent Lau, Jackie Tan and me at the press session. Photo: Philip Hii of The Star

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 48

The public forum " Sibu In The Blue Ocean" might not drive Sibuians into immediate actions, but it provoked Sibuians into thinking deeper and wider. In a broader sense, this talk by Tan Kee Hian worked towards planting seeds of transformation in Sibu.

I was very much motivated by the 10 Blue Ocean Ideas propounded by Kee Hian in the talk. In the course of blogging "Sibu In the Blue Ocean", I stood to benefit even more from Kee Hian's ideas.

In his round-up of the talk, kee Hian threw to Sibuians what he called "key takeaways" for them to reflect upon:

1. Sibu-a sunset town of diminishing significance in Sarawak

2. Imperative to have courage to "Dream the Big Vision"

3. Ample uncontested market space and Blue Ocean ideas to drive Sibu to achieve renewed glory

4. But, Sibu needs a major transformation to capture the truly reach and thrive in the Blue Ocean

The picture shows the squatters along the Lembangan River in the 70s. Photo: Philip Hii

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 47

Capability (5) "A Conducive Place for Talents to Flourish"

Is Sibu already a conducive place for talents to flourish? Tan Kee Hian listed the following thought-provoking points for Sibuians to have some brainstorming:

1. Home-grown Sarawakians, Malaysians and foreigners

-Attract them to stay back or come here

2. Free and easy to do business

-Is Sibu already providing a free and easy environment to do business?

3. Convenient and easy to live

4. Dynamic socio-political environment and civil society

5. Tolerance for diverse personalities and preferences

-(Within certain limits)

6. Supportive business eco-system

7. Respect/appreciate knowledge, thinking and creativity

8. Fair reward for knowledge and value

The photo shows the squatter area at Upper Lanang 30 years ago. The site was later developed into a residential area known as Pulau Li Hua. Photo: Philip Hii

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 46

Capability (4) "Sibu Is Not An Island"

Tan Kee Hian provoked the thinking of Sibuians with Capability (4) "Sibu Is Not An Island".

Sibu Is Not An Island simply refers to Sibu as not being isolated. In the observations of Kee Hian, Sibu has the following potentials:

1. Like Singapore, not much natural resources but:
-Resourceful people
-Convenient central location
-Surrounded by rich hinterland
-And favourable track record

2. Become the "orchestra conductor" or "systems integrator" for resources from and activities occurring beyond Sibu.

3. Learn how to work with other cities, towns, and villages.

4. Be comfortable with a win-win arrangement:
-Smaller slice of a bigger pie

The picture shows the 2nd Governor of Sarawak, the late Tun Datuk Patinggi Tuanku Haji Bujang. Photo: Philip Hii