Monday, March 20, 2006

Weekly Snippets, Snipes & Snide Commentary
13 March - 18 March 2006

RM4.4 Billion Allocation - The Malaysian government announced a RM4.4 billion allocation to improve public transport system. This is like a bad son who got whacked by his mum real bad and has to come up with excuses, reasons and justifications on the spot in order to stop the whacking. The advisors around PM Badawi should be reprimanded seriously for pitiful strategy and PR (what is this thing about lack of good PR skills, we have had PR problems highlighted in my previous blogs on Proton, MAS... and now the government too - its about time for all to rethink the importance of good PR, its not just a soft-skill you know). If the allocation was to improve public transport, it would have been annnounced at the same time with the fuel price increase and not as an afterthought. Malaysians are not so stupid lah... Still, it is a good move but could have been so much better-handled. A more comprehensive plan to improve the public transport over a 5 year period with a yearly allocation of RM10 billion would have been a cinch. RM10 billion is not much and easy to get - you already get RM4 billion from the public, you can get another RM4 billion from the industrial side, and you probably do not need to increase fuel prices by the same quantum as for the consumers to get that amount, as for the balance RM2 billion - just make it an extraordinary 5 year tax on Petronas for supernormal profits, Petronas would not even feel it. Now RM50 billion over 5 years, I am sure we can come up with something decent for the city and rural folks, even with leakages ... come on... hmmm.. maybe I should run for office.... nah... I'd turn corrupt too fast to be effective...

Free Chicken Anyone - Eat as much fried chicken as you want, but only if there happens to be avian flu scare. Why are things only free-to-eat when it is deemed "suspiciously dangerous"?? There were a few politicians photographed tucking away on fried chicken in a few "events" held to press home the point that chickens are safe to be eaten. Since there were some ducks culled last week in Perak, I guess the ducks should be shivering for there will be some "duck eating" party over the next 2 weeks. I am just trying to imagine if the same action/reaction was replicated elsewhere. How about the anthrax scare in the US? Will we see Bush and Condeleeza Rice holding a press conference at a US mail room and just opening up random letters and inhaling?? C'mon guys, its safe to smell the letters now.

Investor Conference - Over 500 fund managers, analysts and institutional investors will converge in Kuala Lumpur for Invest Malaysia 2006, which is aimed at profiling Malaysian companies and showcasing the diversity of investments in the Malaysian capital market. Some 30 corporate presentations by industry leaders will be held for potential investors at the two-day conference. The companies making presentations are mainly Khazanah related companies. The conference is jointly organised by Bursa Malaysia Bhd, Commerce International Bankers Bhd (CIMB) and UBS Securities Malaysia Sdn Bhd. My gripe is that this conference is like an "insider-conference" as anyone in the industry can tell you the links between UBS-Khazanah, and the links between Bursa-CIMB are very ... how should I say this, ... having a lot to do with scratching and backs. Again, my other gripe is that international investors KNOW the companies already, a conference or roadshow will not change that. The only thing is that the companies can tell investors what sort of KPIs they have implemented, but investors need to see the results first - if the results are good, you don't need conferences like these, the professionals will find you.

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