Dr M: Soros' remarks will not affect foreign investment
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said comments made by international financier George Soros would not affect the Government's efforts to attract foreign investments.
He said he believed foreign investors would come to the country when there were chances for them to make money.
"I don't doubt that they will come. Soros can speak until he is blue in the face and it will make no difference," he said after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting on Monday night.
Soros had said in Washington recently that selected control measures would deepen Malaysia's financial crisis, adding that the policies of Dr Mahathir was aimed at keeping him in office and benefiting his political allies.
Meanwhile, party management and disciplinary committee co-chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said two Umno members had been sacked for their involvement in anti-party activities recently.
He said the two were Wan Jusoh Wan Kolok of the Kuantan Umno and Baharuddin @ Sibadar Abdullah of the Sepang division.
"Wan Jusoh was sacked for allowing his house to be used for a reformasi gathering and Baharuddin was expelled for organising anti-party activities," he told reporters here on Monday night.
Najib added that Beaufort Youth chief Abdul Rahman Yaakub's party membership had been suspended and 11 others were given warnings.
Soros: I haven't got what it takes
LONDON: "I think I've lost it. I'm like an overaged ballet dancer. I just haven't got what it takes."
This comes from the man who reputedly made a billion dollars from laying siege to the sterling in 1992, forcing the pound out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) and who is blamed by Malaysia for the Asian economic crisis.
In an interview with the Financial Times yesterday, George Soros, 68-year-old billionaire international financier, was in a self-effacing mood.
He told the paper he had not been involved in day-to-day running of his funds since 1989, preferring instead to act as "chairman and coach."
"I used to be much more on top of things," he said as he appeared in London to promote his book The Global Crisis of Capitalism. -- AFP
LETTER AND OPINIONS TO THE EDITOR OF THE STAR
Letter To The Editor
US rating agencies 'unprofessional'
Arazmi bin Yusof, Associate Member, Association of International Accountants, writes:
RECENTLY, certain US rating agencies downgraded Malaysia's financial standing to "junk" status and put Malaysia in the same category as Mauritius, Latvia, and Cambodia.
Even Japan and Hong Kong have been continuously downgraded by such agencies that their governments were forced to make official protests to these agencies which, obviously, have other motives in doing the downgrading.
One direct consequence arising from such a downgrading exercise is to cause a sharp drop in the stock market, wiping off billions of dollars and causing more economic miseries and uncertainty in recovery.
We could see that each time that such Asian stock markets were poised for recovery, the downgrading would be issued to dampen the confidence of the investors.
One such agency clarified recently that it was not biased in arriving at such conclusions and claimed it had acted professionaly.
The following statistics would show whether Malaysia should be classified as "junk" country and whether such agencies have acted fairly.
From the table, one could see that Malaysia comes out top because she has the highest export to foreign debt ratio and the lowest foreign debt to reserve ratio.
If Malaysia could be classified as a "junk" country with difficulty in meeting its foreign debts repayment, all the other six countries are very much worse off and could be classified as below "junk" status.
But Malaysia never comes across any downgrading for the United States, Canada or Australia.
This is simply because these are non-Asian countries.
Malaysia is now the 18th largest exporting country in the world with trade surplus approaching RM50bil for 1998.
Her financial standing is definitely within the top 20 in the world.
Mauritius and Latvia are probably a few dozen places below Malaysia.
Yet, these rating agencies could classify Malaysia in the same league and claimed that they had acted professionally.
In order to protect our stock market and economic recovery, the local media, perhaps, should exercise their discretion on whether they should publish such biased reports both local and foreign from these American rating agencies.
After all, what do we get by reporting such biased downgrading reports on Asian countries besides helping them to destroy our own confidence?
In fact, US now owes about US$30bil (RM114bil) to Japan, but it looks like it is the borrower criticising the lender for being in bad shape!
Letter To The Editor
A shame for mighty US to stoop so low
Chan Fong Kin of Shah Alam writes:
WE, in Asia, learn of the American standards of democracy and good behaviour -- fair play, civility, appropriate conduct, and the concept of "good order".
For example, we learn that for good order, we Asians will practise civility and not pass comments about Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct which the US President himself had confessed was not appropriate.
We also expected the United States to do the same. But, the recent behaviour of US Vice-President Al Gore and financier George Soros most certainly do not comply with practices of a just and civil society.
It's just a shame.
There is so much that the world at large admire about America -- its inventiveness, its creativity, Hollywood, and its economic might.
Many Asians send their children to American schools in the hope that they can learn from the best about being the best.
Yet, every now and then, the exuberant display of arrogance by a few Americans creep in to give all in the United States a bad name.
It was not too long ago, in the 1960s, when the same attitude earned them the "Ugly American" name in Europe.
It would seem that whenever the United States is flying high, some of its prominent people feel that they can behave badly and arrogantly without the least bit regard to the "Western invention and definition" of civilised conduct.
Why should they? They are after all citizens of the mighty United States of America -- and the rest of the world be damned.
Ironically, this is a contradiction to the American standard of democracy and legal system where "right" is "might" -- and not the other way round where "might" is always "right".
When some Americans depart from standards set by them, the whole nation starts to lose its credibility. It makes us wonder what causes an intelligent nation to stoop so low.
It makes Malaysians wonder about this American conspiracy that wants Malaysia to go down and stay down.
It makes Malaysians wonder why Gore would behave, not like an American vice-president, but like an uncouth guerilla in his Apec speech.
Soros yes, he does not like Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, but what platform is he speaking from when he chose to pass judgement on political and economic matters of a country which he has never visited, and until the currency crisis provided him the opportunity to launch speculative attacks on our currency.
The fact of the matter is that our country is really too small to be of interest to his Quantum fund.
Malaysians also wonder why CNBC -- another American propaganda machine -- continues to slander Malaysia by insinuating comparisons with Indonesia.
Why beg your pardon -- there is no comparison indeed!
If Soros could take the trouble to come to Malaysia, he would find that shopping centres are full of people; supermarket shelves full of food; international hypermarts like Carrefour continue to expand; and our nightlife bustling with party people.
We wonder why the US administration condones the exuberant arrogance of Gore and Soros.
You may not like Dr Mahathir's forthrightness but that does not give you credibility to support someone that has been charged with sexual misconduct and corruption unless there are other reasons.
Is it because Dr Mahathir is against colonisation by foreign powers?
One last point -- Malaysia is a very democratic nation.
If our government followed the hardball tactics of one of our neighbouring countries, many Western media would not be allowed free circulation here.
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