Monday, March 29, 2010


The much-awaited NEM is now unveiled to both eager Malaysians and foreign investors. It is much less exciting than we initially anticipated. Apparently we still have not hit on the head of the nail!

Malaysiainsider has the following report:

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today unveiled economic reforms that he said would make this country a developed nation by 2020 but provided few clues as to how he would get there.
“I pledge that we will work to develop and implement economic reforms needed for the country to grow further,” Najib told an investment conference here.
Najib said the “New Economic Model” will see more divestments of government holdings in listed companies and the government is still in consultation on the reform of its subsidy policy.
However, there was no timeframe for the new taxes and for cuts in a subsidy regime that sees Malaysians pay one of the lowest prices for petrol in Asia and that cost the country RM24.5 billion in 2009 out of 160.2 billion in federal government operating spending. — Reuters

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bursa Malaysia Hots Up!

Bursa Malaysia is hotting up! Yesterday's trading closed with a volume of 1.2 billion shares. That is a good indication of heightened trading heat.

Next week appears to be exciting, if you are in the market.

CENTURY, KINSTEL, KNM, PERWAJA and ANNJOO-WB are some of the interesting picks for some attention.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Doctor Too Many

Tan Kee Hian shared with me this highly relevant article in his mail today. The article touches on the flourishing medical education in Malaysia. It is very much a red-ocean scenario - 24 medical schools for a population of 26 million.

Out of his deep concern for Malaysia generally, and Sibu in particular, Kee Hian pointed out that:

It is a very good illustration of a Red Ocean with lots of copycats jumping on the bandwagon of medical schools. As the learned doctor-author pointed out, Malaysia has “. . . 24 medical schools for a population of 26 million!” It is also relevant to Sibu. I understand many people (parents, doctors, leaders, etc) would dearly like to start a medical school in Sibu. Does it make sense to have the 25th “vanilla” medical school located in Sibu? Perhaps yes, if we could create an uncontested space, a Blue-Ocean medical school that offers unique value to society, the students, and the investors. I provided some clues in my “Sibu in the Blue Ocean” Lecture.

This article by Dr. Hsu Dar Ren is pretty insightful and it is worthwhile for you to take your precious time to read through.

"A Doctor Too Many" appears in Malaysiainsider today.

Malaysia, a country with about 26 million inhabitants, boasts of 24 medical schools now.
Just a few years ago, the number was less than 10. In fact, when my eldest son entered medical school 10 years back, I could count the medical schools with my fingers. Now even with my toes and my fingers, I can no longer. Some of the names are so new that I, as a doctor, did not even know they existed until I did some research for this article.
The list is below:
Public universities:
* University of Malaya, Faculty of Medicine
* Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Faculty of Medicine
* Universiti Sains Malaysia, School of Medical Sciences
* Universiti Putra Malaysia, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
* Universiti Malaysia Sabah, School of Medicine
* Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
* International Islamic University Malaysia, Kulliyyah of Medicine
* Universiti Teknologi Mara, Faculty of Medicine
* Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
* Universiti Darul Iman, Faculty of Medicine
Private Universities and Colleges
* UCSI University, Faculty of Medical Sciences — School of Medicine
* Monash University Malaysia, School of Medicine and Health Sciences
* International Medical University, Faculty of Medicine
* AIMST University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
* Allianze College Of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
* Management and Science University, Faculty of Medicine
* Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
* Royal College of Medicine Perak, School of Medicine
* Melaka Manipal Medical College, School of Medicine
* Penang Medical College, School of Medicine
* MAHSA University College, Faculty of Medicine
* Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NuMED)
* Taylor’s University College, School of Medicine
* Utar
These are the medical schools in Malaysia. These schools, when fully functional, will produce about 4,000 doctors a year. There will be thousands more Malaysian doctors being produced overseas, since many Malaysians are studying medicine in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, Russia, Taiwan and even Ukraine.
The sudden mushrooming of medical schools is apparently due to shortages of doctors in the public sectors. This is because most doctors in government service resign after their compulsory services and opt for the supposedly greener pasture in the private sector.
In most other countries, the logical thing to do to counter this brain drain of doctors to the private sector is to find out why doctors are resigning from government service, and then try to address the woes of the doctors, and hopefully, keep them in service. I call this common logic.
The Malaysian solution, like in many other instances, does not take common logic into account but rather uses the sledgehammer approach. After all, we do have Malaysian logic, which is different from common logic practised in most other countries. For example, if we cannot have spacecraft of our own, we can still produce astronauts by sending Malaysians into space, hitchhiking on other countries’ spacecraft.
In most other countries, the common logic will be to try to improve the working conditions in public sector so that doctors will stay back. But Malaysian logic is sledgehammer logic, and is very different.
If the doctors do not want to stay in government service, then Malaysia shall flood the market with doctors, so goes the Malaysian logic. Never mind that setting up of medical schools and training doctors are expensive businesses. We have petroleum and huge amount of development funds.
By building more buildings and buying expensive medical equipment to equip these medical schools, billions will have to be spent and, of course, in the Malaysian context, everyone will be happy, down from the planners, the contractors, the parents and all others involved, since the perception is that projects in Malaysia inevitably will have some leakages and wastages, and many people are very happy with these leakages and wastages.
Never mind that we may have the hardware but we may not have enough qualified people to man these medical schools.
The Malaysian logic seems to be like this: If enough doctors are produced, the market will be saturated with doctors, and thus, doctors will have nowhere to go but to stay in government service.
Well, the people may be clapping hands and rejoicing that, with more doctors than are needed, medical costs will come down.
Unfortunately, things do not function like this in medical education. Experience in some countries tells us that some doctors in private practice, when faced with too few patients, will charge higher and do more investigations, some of which may not be needed. So instead of medical cost going down, it will go up.
In any advanced nation, the setting up of a medical school requires a lot of planning and is not done on an ad hoc basis. Planning must include where to source for experienced and qualified teachers; where to build new or source for existing teaching hospitals, which are big enough for the placement of these medical students to do training.
Planning such as facilities, equipment, classrooms, curriculum. In the west, it takes many years of training for a medical school to be set up; whereas in Malaysia, we see more than 10 in the last five years.
In Malaysia, due to the sudden “exponential” increase in medical schools, we have medical schools pinching staff from each other, even the mediocre ones. With that number of qualified teachers only, it is unavoidable that many teachers may not have the experience and qualification to be medical lecturers.
The early birds (medical schools) are more fortunate. Their students are placed in bigger hospitals like the General Hospitals of Kuala Lumpur or Penang. Now, some of the medical schools just opened have to send their students to smaller district hospitals to do their training. The smaller hospitals are often manned by more junior doctors who are not qualified to be medical teachers, and these hospitals have only very basic facilities and equipment.
This is just the beginning of the problems. For a doctor, graduating from a medical school is the beginning of a life long journey, and the basic medical degree is more like a license to start to really learn how to manage and treat patients.
The most important year after a doctor graduates is the houseman-ship. If a doctor does not have proper houseman training, then he would face a lot of problems later on. He or she may know all the medical knowledge in the world (just for argument’s sake, since knowledge of medicine is so vast that no one can know everything), but without the proper houseman training, he or she will not get the hand-on experience so crucial and important to doctors.
A doctor without proper houseman training is not unlike a person who has only ever raced in arcade games, suddenly being asked to race in a real life race. He would not have the hands on experience to do well. A doctor without proper houseman training would be like a person given a license to kill, and a disaster waiting to happen.
Now, with 4,000 doctors being produced in a year, where do we find so many houseman positions for these young doctors?
Even now, with some of the medical schools just starting and not yet producing doctors, and the number of doctors being produced is much less than the 4,000, the wards in some of the bigger hospitals are filled with so many housemen that, in some wards, there are not enough patients for these housemen to learn management skills.
About a year back, I was told, in HKL some of the units have more than 20 housemen. Recently one doctor told me that in some units, it may have even more than that. I was aghast. Since with that many housemen in a single unit, and so few senior officers to guide them and so few patients for them to learn from, how are they going to learn the skill of doctoring?
When there is not enough training for these housemen, what do you think our policy planners do? In the typical Malaysian style, they increase the length of houseman-ship from a year to 2, hoping that the longer time will help to give better exposure to these doctors.
Compared to Australia, New Zealand, and United Kingdom, houseman-ship is still one year only. By increasing the length of the houseman-ship, it is a tacit admission that our one-year houseman training is not as good as the above mentioned countries.
A poorly trained houseman will become a mediocre medical officer, and since now most of the specialists are trained internally, it will be a matter of time before future specialists may not be as well trained as presently.
Many parents do not know about the actual situation and still encourage their children to take up medicine. They are not told of the actual situation. The day will come when there are simply so many doctors that none are adequately trained. There will come a day when a doctor graduating from a medical school cannot even be placed in a houseman position.
And that day is actually very near.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Allen Has Enrolled For CAT At MPI

I took Allen to MPI last week to enrol for CAT (Certified Accounting Technician) course. This is to pave a way for him to pursue a professional career in accounting. The course shall commence on May 11.

MPI is locally renowned for accountancy. Even well before Allen had completed hid SPM, I had in mind to put him there for higher learning. I hope my choice is right.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bowling Competition In Brotherly Spirits

Our DS Rev. Wong Koi Fo gave a mighty bowl to kick-start the competition.
The Champion Team - MAF of Xin Fu Yuan Methodist Church posing for a group photo.

Some of the office bearers of MAF of Sibu East District posing with DS Rev. Wong Koi Fo -Together we stood united in the name of our Lord.

Siao Yieng simply couldn't hide her overflowing joy. MAF of Wang Ming Methodist Church snatched the second runner-up place.

Tang Sioh Lik - the best man player of Bowling Competition 2010. Lik Ko, you have done well!

All the eyes were glued to the targets.

Shirley Jin receiving from DS Rev. Wong the first runner-up prize on behalf of MAF of Wesley Methodist Church.

MAF of The Masland Methodist Church ended up the runner-up. Nee Min Chon smiled all the way up to get the prize.

The Bowling Competition ended with a session of sumptuous supper. We served hung kang long and chicken curry rice to treat the players.

You must have missed the thrill and excitement if you were not with us.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

District-Level Bowling Competition For Adult Fellowshippers 2010

Time really flies and in a blink of an eye, time has come for the adult bowling lovers in Sibu East District to come together for an exciting session to compete against each other.

The objective is to foster better ties among the brothers and sisters in the name of our Lord.

The much awaited bowling meet is going to be on March 22 (Monday) at 6:45pm at Sibu Superbowl.

See you there.

The photo shows Peter Tang, the best man player, receiving prize from DS Rev. Wong Koi Fo in last year's competition.

Call For Better Local Content

I just got my copy of today's Star.

As the publicity that has been hitting heavily on the streets states, the Sarawak Edition comes cheaper, earlier and with more contents. The delivery service has been to my satisfaction so far.
Perhaps the only thing I wish to voice out is that the Edition's contents on local coverage is pretty scanty. Local news would make the daily a lot closer to Sarawakians (or Sibuians in my case).
Keep up and improve it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bull Or Bear?

It is mind-grinding when investors are caught in this bull-or-bear situation. We have calls from both sides. Now, which one are we going to take? Think twice before you jump!

Julie Crawshaw of Moneynews has the following to share with us.

Top money managers Laszlo Birinyi, Barton Biggs and Steve Leuthold may differ in their investing approaches, but reportedly are united on one point: The market is still heading up. The trio expects that stocks will continue to advance as the economy gains momentum, and fast corporate earnings growth will encourage investors to put money into stocks instead of bonds.Birinyi expects the rally will be a long one. In fact, his data show it lasting until at least April 2013. "By any definition, it is a bull market, and there's no stronger force in the market than momentum," he told Business Week. Biggs says stocks remain cheap relative to forecast earnings. "I'm very struck by the level of bearishness everywhere I go," notes Biggs, who predicts the next move in the S&P 500 Index will be a 10 percent to 15 percent gain. "I'm not obsessed with history. I'm bullish because I think the global economic recovery is on track and is going to be surprisingly strong.” “The world was falling apart in 2009. There's been a tremendous change."Leuthold finds investor wariness encouraging. "Individual investors, as measured by mutual fund flows, have absolutely no current enthusiasm for equity investing," he observes. "As a contrarian, I view this environment of disbelief and skepticism as quite bullish."Jeremy Grantham, chief investment strategist for Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo, dissents. Grantham believes the market is now overvalued. Fair value for the S&P 500, he asserts, is 875, which is 25 percent below Wednesday’s close of 1,166.21. "My recommendation to the typical investor would be to think outside the U.S.," Grantham says. "And when he thinks about the U.S., to be exclusively in defensive blue chips.” “The chances of a softening again — not a big collapse, but a secondary softening in the economy — are higher than the market believes."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Heartwarming Visit To Camp By Sing Hong

Allen was posted to Similajau Camp to undergo a three-month national service (NS) starting from January 4 this year.

The NS was a rich experience for Allen. Before departure, we prayed to God to guide Allen through his NS life. Throughout the course of the NS, Allen topped on the list of our daily prayers. Praise Lord for listening to us!

Allen shared with us that he and his buddies were very much touched by a surprise visit by Sing Hung, a Form 5 classmate of Allen. Sing Hung was not selected for NS. One Saturday he travelled all the way to Kem PLKN Similajau, Bintulu to visit the buddies to boost their morale. The visit gave them all the warmth they needed.

The picture shows them posing for a group photo. L to R: Sing Hong, Joo Yew, Willis, Allen, Hua Joung.

Monday, March 15, 2010

FOREX Market Trading

FOREX market is huge with daily turnover coming close to 4 trillion U.S. dollars. Although the returns of the market are lucrative, but the risks are shocking. I have seen players coming out smashed.

Seriously you need both good luck and expertise to make in forex.

Christopher Ruddy of Moneynews has the following to share with you:

Take a look at the landscape of the American economy: How safe do you feel?
Everywhere you turn there are signs of political unrest, financial instability, and serious threats of inflation.
Our weakened economy has removed the safety net we’ve all been accustomed to our entire lives.
Right now — more than ever — you need to take unconventional steps to protect and grow your wealth.
The old days of simply putting your money in stocks and bonds are long gone. . . Americans need investments that can keep up with a weakened dollar and a full-frontal inflationary attack.
Although a diversified portfolio lined with stocks, gold, and other securities is always a smart bet, and one I highly recommend — you need to look beyond your comfort zone to find the best investments for turbulent times like these.
Look at it this way.
If all of your investments are in America — how “diversified” and “safe” are you really? Moving into international ventures now could be the difference between prosperity and the poorhouse.
Sean Hyman, a member of my Financial Brain Trust, wants to alert you to a “hidden” international market ripe with profit opportunities.
This market has been cut off to average Americans for a very long time. But now serious investors of all experience levels and portfolio sizes can capitalize on it with just a computer and an internet connection.
Sean has prepared a report I’d like to show you. In it, he lays out in great detail how your friends, family, and neighbors are delving into this global market. Some are extracting serious returns.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

SPM Results Are Out Today!

Today (March 11) is the result day for last year's SPM.

When Allen got his slip, he called me from the school to inform me about his results. I shared his joy. He has truly done his best.

God, we thank you for guiding Allen through!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Service In Memory of Mdm. Wu Bao Di

Mdm. Wu Bao Di (in pinyin) was called by Lord to rest in heaven last Saturday. I learned about it from the obituary message in See Hua Daily News on Sunday morning. Then in a short e-mail, Dr. Dennis Ngien informed me of the sad news of his mom's demise.

The family of the late Mdm. Wu Bao Di held a memorial service this morning (10th March) at Zion Methodist Church in loving memory of their beloved one.

It was a near-full Zion Methodist Church despite the drizzle.

In his sermon, Rev. Liik Tung Yeu likened life to a race. "You need to persist in Lord to win the race," Rev. Liik told the congregation.

Dr. Dennis Ngien represented his family to testify the greatness of the love of his mom. The sharing was touching and it almost wetted my eyes. Dr. Dennis Ngien's testimony left ample space for us to give deep thinking to.

The memorial service concluded with a benediction by Rev. Liik and thereafter a group photo shooting at the entrance of the church.
Photos: Ting Leng Kieh

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bond Disasters Brewing In U.S. And Europe

Ellen Chang of Moneynews reported what Martin Hennecke had to say about the bonds in the western economies.

Investors should take a closer look at how much recovery has occurred in the United States and other Western countries, said Martin Hennecke, associate director at investment and financial advice firm Tyche.The economies in those countries are not generating a real recovery, he said.“We are not seeing any growth in the United States, let alone any sustainable growth,” he told CNBC. "The U.S. economy has never really recovered. They have just been throwing money at the problems, been bailing out the banks,” Hennecke said.The bond market could be hit with the next crisis, especially long-term U.S. Treasuries and even European sovereign bonds and currencies, Hennecke said. "They are very much at risk now with this huge budget deficit," he said. The U.S., United Kingdom and other countries will encounter high rates of inflation, said Hennecke. “With the start of (the) sovereign bond crisis across the Western countries that we have seen in Greece and are starting to see in Spain … across the euro zone there's absolute disasters there,” he says.“We are going to see a sovereign bond crisis probably leading to very high or even hyper inflation in most Western countries and that could actually — ironically, theoretically — even drive up the markets because if you have high inflation, anything with any tangible assets behind it via commodities, companies … could even rise," Hennecke said.The U.S. central bank is holding back on issuing business and consumer loans, Bloomberg reported.“The Fed remains more concerned about the sustainability of the recovery and disinflation than accelerating inflation in the near-term. They are in no hurry to raise rates, nothing before the fourth quarter or later," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. "And their position is justified.”

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Star Is Coming In A Big Way

The Star is making inroad into Sarawak to make it nearer to be truly a national paper! My understanding is that the daily started test printing from 1st of March in Kuching. The Sarawak edition will be launched on 8th of March for the locals to "get more, get it early for much less", as the slogan suggests.

In 80s when The Star was still a little tabloid, it invited our Bapa Malaysia, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, to write a twice-weekly clumn on hot, hot issues. Tunku (a popular way to call Bapa Malaysia in Chinese community) was pretty critical of Dr. M. The Star's invitation came at a right time when Tunku's views were subject to heavy censorship in local dailies. A column in The Star gave Tunku a place to air his views freely. Tunku's column was fast getting popular, drawing thousands and thousands of readers to the daily. The Star later overtook The New Straits Times to be the nation's top English daily.

All the best to The Star Sarawak Edition.

Photo: Steve Ling

Mark Faber's Talk On Stock Fall

Dan Weil of Moneynews reported two days an insightful talk by Mark Faber on stock fall. For your information, Mark Faber is an investment guru and his views carry weight.

U.S. stocks may drop 20 percent if they top their January highs, says investment guru Mark Faber.The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reached a high of 1,150 Jan. 19. “I’m not sure we will make a new high,” Faber, editor of "The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report," told Bloomberg. “But if we do, I don’t think it will be that far – maybe 1,200 – and then I wouldn’t rule out a correction of at least 20 percent.” On the currency front, Faber says the euro is very oversold, trading at about $1.35. “The news has been horrible for the euro zone,” he said. “I think the euro can rebound to $1.40 before it goes lower.”Fundamentals are weak for both the dollar and the euro, Faber maintains. “What you have in Europe is indirect monetization of the debt.”As for the greenback, “When investors realize fiscal deficits aren’t going to come down, that one state after another is going bust and that monetization is inevitable, at that point the dollar will be weak,” Faber said.But it won’t slip against the euro, he says. “Both currencies are sick.” Gold and Asian currencies will benefit as a result, Faber says.Citigroup’s chief equities strategist Tobias Levkovich sees the stock market a bit differently than Faber.Levkovich told CNBC that the S&P could reach 1,250 in coming weeks, before ending the year at 1,175 as the Federal Reserve continues to withdraw its monetary stimulus.

We are going to see a lot of bumps ahead!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Towards A Better Sibu - From UCS To KLT

UCS (United College Sarawak) went into history two days ago. In its place now is KLT (Kolej Laila Taib). It was a take-over deal with Yayasan Sarawak ending up to be the owner now.

Much has been said about the exercise by the various sectors in Sibu. My only concern is: Is it going to benefit Sibu?

That calls for some deeper analysis. But right now, I have seen a ray of hope coming out from KLT.

Let us stay open-minded!

Photo: Wong Meng Lei

Mitsu Shabu-Shabu Cafe

It was a good two-hour discussion meet at Mitsu Shabu-shabu Cafe for MAF of Sibu East District. We met up to review and deliberate on our works. The time we spent there was wonderful.

Before we called it a day, we had a round of porridge steamboat to refresh ourselves.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Heading For Collapse

Financial author Jim Davidson says the dollar, the economy, and the stock market are headed for collapse. In an interview with Newsmax.TV, Davidson, who is a member of the Newsmax board of directors, elucidated the ideas of a recent book, titled “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown.”The book — written by David Wiedemer, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer — states that two big bubbles have yet to burst: the dollar and $12.3 trillion in government debt. “Look out below when they pop,” says Davidson, a columnist for Newsmax’s flagship financial newsletter, Financial Intelligence Report.The dollar index has slipped 17 percent since Obama took office. The White House and Federal Reserve seek a weaker dollar partly to boost exports.But they also want to see the currency drop so that it becomes cheaper to pay back our debt.“It’s a delicate balancing act where they’re trying to weaken the dollar just enough to make the burden lighter, but not so much as to make the dollar go ‘poof,’” Davidson said.But the strategy won’t work, he believes. “Any time the government prints money, it’s a threat to the people who produce wealth in the society,” Davidson points out. “The history of the world is that you don’t become rich by printing money. Otherwise Zimbabwe would be the richest country on earth.”Our debt burden will ultimately collapse due to hyperinflation, he says. The “Aftershock” authors say we’re headed for a crisis because we aren’t going to pay back the debt, Davidson explains.“We have made no effort to pay it back, and there’s no plan to pay it back,” he said. As for President Obama’s partial spending freeze, “It’s sort of like partial pregnancy,” Davidson says. “It’s not significant in the scheme of things. We’re avoiding the tough choices that are eventually going to be forced on us when we have no other options.”

The above report by Dan Weil of Moneynews is pretty shocking. Please read it open-mindedly for your own benefits.