Saturday, July 22, 2017

ECRL - learn from Sri Lanka before it's too late.

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, ADUN Damansara Utama, on Friday 21 July 2017 in Petaling Jaya.

Putrajaya should heed Nazir Razak’s suggestion to thoroughly scrutinize East Coast Rail Line (ECRL).

The Edge Financial Daily reported that Nazir Razak has called for government scrutiny on China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiatives, particularly the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project at the roundtable on “China’s Belt and Road Initative in ASEAN: Economic Opportunities and ASEAN Centrality”[i].


We have repeatedly raised concerns regarding the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) but all seem to have fallen into deaf ears. Now even Nazir Razak, who is a prominent banker, raised concerns over the value proposition of the project as well as the debt implications, we hope that Putrajaya will heed his suggestion to thoroughly scrutinize the deal.

ECRL project is awarded to China Communication Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) without open tender. At RM 55 billion price tag, it is deemed the most expensive railroad of its kind by The Edge Weekly after benchmarking it against other rail projects around the world. The project is going to be financed by a loan from China via Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China. Putrajaya has repeatedly said that the loan is offered at low interest rate, but how “low” is the “low interest rate” ? What are the terms and conditions?

In short, it seems like with ECRL deal, most of the money that come from China via Exim bank will go back to China via CCCC, what’s left for Malaysians is an overpriced infrastructure and huge debt, only to be paid by the people in the future.

There is risk that reckless mega infrastructure constructions will send Malaysia into deep debt trap.  What happen to the troubled Sri Lanka offers a good glimpse into how mega infrastructure financed by debt without proper framework to benefit local economies through the construction and completion of the infrastructure, is not development but debt disaster in the making.

布城应该听从纳西尔拉萨的建议,全面审查东海岸铁路工程(ECRL)

百乐镇州议员杨美盈于2017721日(星期五)在八打灵再也所发布的媒体文告。

布城应该听从纳西尔拉萨的建议,全面审查东海岸铁路工程(ECRL

The Edge财经日报》报导说,纳西尔拉萨在“中国在东盟的一带一路计划:经济契机和东盟中心”圆桌讨论上呼吁政府审查中国的一带一路计划,尤其是东海岸铁路工程(ECRL.

我们一直重复表达我们对东海岸铁路工程(ECRL)的关切,但有关方面却似乎对此充耳不闻。现在,连重要的银行家纳西尔拉萨也对这项工程的利益价值以及我国因此亏欠中国巨额债务的影响表达关切,所以我们希望布城不要再漠视这些关切,听从建议,并全面审查这项工程。

ECRL工程是在没有公开竞标下,以550亿令吉颁授给中国交通建设公司(CCCC是非常高的价格。The Edge周报》在把这项工程和世界其他铁路工程进行国际标准衡量后,将它誉为世界上造价最昂贵的铁路。而中国出入口(Exim)银行将提供贷款来承担该工程的建筑费交通部部长拿督斯里廖中莱重复表示,Exim银行以低利息提供这笔贷款。但是,这“低利息”究竟有多“低”呢?还有什么其他的条款吗?

总而言之,看起来在ECRL协议里,大部分透过Exim银行的来自中国的钱最终仍会透过CCCC回到中国去,而马来西亚人所获得的是一个过份昂贵的铁路和庞大的债务,这笔债务最终还是会由人民买单。

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Three Reasons Isa Samad Should Not be SPAD Chief

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, State Assemblywoman for Damansara Utama on 23 June 2017 in Petaling Jaya.

On June 19, when Isa Samad resigned as Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) chairman, Prime Minister Najib Razak appointed him as the acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) with immediate effect “in appreciation of Isa’s role” in FGV.

This is an absolutely ridiculous appointment. No one will believe that Isa is the best candidate to fill the post left vacant with the retirement of Syed Hamid Albar. Here are three main reasons why Isa Samad should not be the chief of SPAD.

First, he is undoubtedly incompetent. Under his chairmanship, FGV went from glory to sorry.
In 2012, when FGV went for its US$3.1 billion initial public offering (IPO), it was the world’s second largest IPO of the year, after only Facebook Inc’s US$16 billion IPO.

In five years, FGV’s market capitalisation dropped more than 60% from around RM19 billion to only around RM6 billion, meaning RM13 billion had evaporated from the original value of the company.The share price went from RM4.641on June 29, 2012 to only RM1.75 as of close of trading on June 23, 2017.

In addition, FGV started with a cash surplus of RM5.09 billion in December 2012 but four years later in December 2016, it is RM1.97 billion in debt. FGV’s current sorry state of affairs didn’t happen overnight, it was a result of a series of missteps, all of which were made under the watch of Isa.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

依沙沙末不应该成为SPAD主席的三大理由

首相拿督斯里纳吉在丹斯里依沙沙末辞去环球创投主席职位的同一天,委任后者成为陆路公共交通委员会代主席,并即时生效,以此来“肯定依沙在环球创投的角色”。

这是绝对荒谬的委任。无人会相信依沙沙末是填补丹斯里赛哈密退休后所留下的空缺的最佳人选。以下是依沙沙末不应该成为SPAD主席的三大理由。

其一,无可置疑的是,他是无能的。环球创投在他担任主席之下,从兴盛走向衰败。环球创投在2012年展开它31亿美元的首次公开募股(IPO),这是当年全世界第二大的IPO,仅次于面子书公司的160亿美元的IPO。然而,环球创投的市值却在五年内下滑超过60%,从190亿令吉至60亿令吉而已,蒸发掉了大约130亿令吉。它的股价也从2012629日的每股4.641令吉跌至昨天下午的每股1.75令吉而已。除此之外,环球创投在201212月所持有的现金是50亿9000万令吉,但却在四年后的201612月,负债达到19亿7000万令吉。环球创投目前的糟糕情况,并不是一夕间发生的,它是由一系列的错误所造成的,并且全都是在依沙沙末的看管下发生的。

Friday, June 16, 2017

It is unnecessary and untimely for Putrajaya to impose tourism tax.

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, ADUN for Damansara Utama on Saturday 10 June 2017 in Petaling Jaya.

It is unnecessary and untimely for Putrajaya to impose tourism tax.

We are very concerned with the rush of Putrajaya into imposing tourism tax, leaving hotel operators and those who are involved in confusion. It was reported that the taxation rate will be RM20, RM 10, RM 5 and RM2.50 per room per night for hotels with five star, four star, one to three star and other ratings respectively.

The lightning speed of the implementation of the Tourism Tax Bill 2017 passed just a few months ago shows that Putrajaya’s coffer is running so dry that it is going all out to milk more monies from the people in any way possible.

This swift implementation of the law passed in Parliament is in sharp contrast with the implementation of Child Offender Registry, which is provided by Child Act Amendment 2016. The government couldn’t complete the registry, which contains records of convicts who committed crimes against children including sexual crimes, nine months after the law was passed in the parliament (April 2016) and six months after the law was gazetted (July 2016)[i]. (The registry is finally ready now with slightly more than 100 child offenders record.) On a contrary, for Tourism Tax Act 2017, the government can’t wait to execute the law even before it is gazzetted! 

Friday, April 14, 2017

马来西亚的父权主义和强奸文化


镇州议员杨美盈于2017413星期在八打灵再也所发表的文章

巫统打昔牛汝莪国会议员沙布丁在一周前引起很多西亚人民的道强奸受害者和她的强奸者婚并无不妥这样黯淡的前途表示小至912的女孩子只要已经处于青春期即她的身体和18少女无异就可以沙布丁的和强奸者“9女孩可以背后的核心思想不是出于他个人的变它也反映出马西亚社会根深蒂固的父主义

女在今今日的马西亚仍然被一些人视物件财产或比男人低一等9的男孩子被认为处于上学和游玩的年的同9的女孩子却被一些人看适婚

强奸案发生经常会听到像当时的穿着是怎样的当时在哪里她是否出夜门当时是否喝醉了以及她是否有问题仿佛假如问题的答案符合一般刻板的促使强奸的条件她被强奸就变得是或自找受害者多少要被侵犯负责的有害念持续渗透在我的社会里

当谋杀案发生被怪的总是人犯当抢劫案发生被怪的总是劫犯当贩毒案发生被怪的总是毒者强奸案发生被怪何却是受害者呢有任何女或女孩应该被强奸


个怪罪受害者的父文化解何有么少的受害者有勇气向别说在罪案发生后求强奸生者的支援和害怕被怪罪视和被抛弃在马西亚每十宗强奸案只有两宗会被投平均来说每年有大3000宗强奸案假如我将没有投的案件算在们将会看到一个令人震惊的事实,那就是西亚每35分钟就会有一名女孩或女被强奸更糟的是3名强奸受害者中就有大两名是未成年人士— 16以下的女孩子 

Friday, April 7, 2017

我对东海岸铁道(ECRL)工程的三大疑问


背景

马六甲海峡是世界上其中一条最重要的海运路线,它将印度洋和太平洋衔接起来。截至目前为止,这条将东亚和印度、中东及欧洲连接起来的900公里长海峡,运载着大约40%的世界贸易,每年有超过5万艘商船经过这里。

中国现在已经成为环球经济强国,而它接近80%的原油进口是经过马六甲海峡的,所以这条水道就成了中国能源安全的一项重要地缘政治课题。中国前国家主席胡锦涛在2003年把中国能源安全过度依赖于马六甲海峡的情况称为“马六甲困境”。

伴随着中国现任国家主席习近平的“一带一路”计划 (该计划的目的是要通过海陆基建促进中国和60多个国家的贸易联系),中国透过它的国营企业积极参与在马来西亚和运输交通有关的基建工程并不令人惊讶。这包括广西北部湾国际港务集团有限公司拥有关丹港口的40%股权,以及中国电力国际发展公司在价值430亿令吉的马六甲皇京港的联营,还有中国进出口银行和中国交通建设股份有限公司对东海岸铁道(ERCL)的融资和承建。

马来西亚如何面对“一带一路”计划将会影响着我们和未来世界最庞大经济体的关系。假如它是以策略性和透明化的方式进行的话,马来西亚人民将会从中受益。但巨型基建建筑工程也存在着让马来西亚陷入庞大债务的风险。

如今陷入困境的斯里兰卡可以让我们做个借镜。一个透过债务资助的巨型基建发展如果缺乏完善的计划以让当地经济从该项目中受惠,可能会带给国家一场债务灾难。斯里兰卡如今大部分的收入因为需要用来偿还债务都不能投资在教育、医疗及其他发展项目上。这些债务都是之前投入在到目前为止使用率极低的巨型基建上,例如过度庞大港口、机场等等


东海岸铁道(ECRL)真是Game Changer吗?

ECRL工程将会兴建600公里长的双轨电动铁道,它将会把巴生港口连接到位于雪兰莪鹅唛的综合交通航站,然后途经彭亨的文冬、文德甲和关丹港口;登嘉楼的甘马挽、吉底和瓜拉登嘉楼;以及吉兰丹的哥打巴鲁和道北。

图源:当今大马


这个新网络不但能将东海岸较落后的城镇和雪兰莪及吉隆坡连接起来,为这些城镇带来更多贸易、机会,也让这些城镇更容易到达,它也将马来西亚半岛东西海岸的港口连接起来,即关丹港口和巴生港口。ECRL项目的拥护者认为关丹—ECRL—巴生港口的连接会改变这区域的贸易路线,因为它可以让使用马六甲海峡的运输船只不必经过新加坡到达他们各自的目的地。

《海峡时报》在它题为“马来西亚的东海岸铁道被誉为能颠覆现状(Game Changer) 的工程”新闻报导里,按照来自马来西亚政府官员的资料提供了一道有趣的计算。它把从深圳途经关丹港口及ECRL到巴生港口的路线费用,与途经新加坡及马六甲海峡的路线费用做个对比。这个计算显示关丹—ECRL路线需时135个小时,每吨运货费用则是56美元;而新加坡—马六甲海峡路线需时165个小时,每吨运输货物费用是50美元。

关丹—ECRL路线可以节省30个小时但会贵10%。运输公司会否为节省30个小时而付出额外的运输费用和承受上货卸货的麻烦呢?我们也不确定官员所提供的运输时间资料是否有把上货卸货的时间算在内,因为这将会增加这条路线的航运时间。而上货卸货所增加的航运时间则取决于港口的效率。所以关丹—ECRL—巴生港口路线的可行性和实用性,需要更详细的研究和另外的公开讨论。


ECRL可疑的造价

无论如何,ECRL工程的造价将会影响乘客的火车票价及货物的运输费——工程造价越高,火车票和运输费就越昂贵。当乘搭费和运输费因着工程造价的增加而不再具有竞争力,ECRL可能将不会被充分使用,并会沦为一个昂贵的大白象。否则,政府就需要透过纳税人的钱给予补贴,让其费用保持竞争力。无论何者,人民最终都得为它买单。

Sunday, April 2, 2017

THREE Questionable Areas of East Coast Rail Line (ECRL)

Background

The Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping routes in the world, linking Indian and Pacific Oceans. As of now, the 900km long strait links East Asia with India, Middle East and Europe, with more than 50,000 merchant ships passing by every year, carrying about 40 percent of the world's trade.

The waterway is also an important geopolitical issue for China as nearly 80% of its total crude oil imports pass through the strait, leading the Former President Hu Jintao to label China's over-reliant on Strait of Malacca for its energy security as the “Malacca Dilemma” in 2003.

Coupled with China’s current President Xi JinPing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which aims to improve trade connectivity of 60 plus countries on land and via sea, it is of no surprise to see China’s growing interest in Malaysia's mega infrastructure projects through its state-owned enterprises. These include Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group Ltd owning 40% of Kuantan Port and PowerChina International’s joint venture in the RM43 billion Malacca Gateway development as well as the financing and construction of the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) by The Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China and China Communication Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) respectively.

How Malaysia leverages on the “One Belt, One Road” initiative will have considerable implications to our relationship with the world biggest economy in the future. If it is done in a strategic and transparent manner, Malaysians will stand to benefit from this effort. Nevertheless, there is also a risk that reckless mega infrastructure constructions will send Malaysia into deep debt trap.  


What happen to the troubled Sri Lanka now offers a good glimpse into how mega infrastructure financed by debt without proper framework to benefit local economies through the construction and completion of the infrastructure, is not development but debt disaster in the making. Instead of investing in education and health care, Sri Lanka spends most of its revenue now to pay off the debts to China that was used to finance the now under-utilized mega infrastructure, from port to airport. 


Economy Rail Coast Line (ECRL) as a Game Changer?

The ECRL project will have 600km of electrified double-tracking lines and will link Port Klang to the integrated transport terminal in Gombak in Selangor, then to Bentong, Mentakab and Kuantan Port in Pahang; Kemaman, Kerteh and Kuala Terengganu in Terengganu; and Kota Bharu and Tumpat in Kelantan.

Picture Source: Malaysiakini


The new network will not only connect the less developed east coast cities to Selangor and Kuala Lumpur bringing in more trades, accessibility and opportunities, but it will also connect ports on the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia, i.e Kuantan Port and Port Klang. The proponents of the project believe that the Kuantan-ECRL-Port Klang connection could alter regional trade route, with the new link enable exporters to bypass Singapore to reach to their respective destinations.

The Strait Times in its news report “Malaysia’s East Coast Rail Line touted as game changer” has given an interesting calculation based on the information from Malaysian government officials (see picture). It compares the cost of the route from Shenzhen to Port Klang via Kuantan Port and the ECRL and via Singapore and the Strait of Malacca. It was said that the Kuatan-ECRL option will take 135 hours at a cost of USD 56 per tonne of bulk cargo whereas Singapore-Strait of Malacca route will take 165 hours at a cost of USD 50 per tonne of bulk cargo.

The Kuantan-ECRL option is about 10% more expensive with a time saving of 30 hours. However, is the saving of 30 hours worth the additional cost in transport and the hassle of loading and unloading? We are also not sure if the shipping time given by the officers quoted here actually included the loading and unloading of the cargo, which will increase the travel time of this route option depending on the efficiency of the ports. The feasibility and practicality of the Kuantan-ECRL-Port Klang route to bypass Singapore deserve a deliberate study and a separate public discourse.


The ECRL’s Questionable Price Tag


In any case, the cost of the ECRL project will affect the price of the passengers’ train tickets as well as the cargo’s freight fees - the higher the project cost, the more expensive the train tickets and freight fees will be. When the prices of passenger train tickets and cargo transportation are not competitive as a result of bloated project cost, the ECRL will likely become under-utilised and become an expensive white elephant. Otherwise the government needs to subsidise it to keep the price competitive through tax payers’ monies. Either way the rakyat will eventually need to pay for it.