Friday, December 27, 2013

BioPen 'draw' live cells onto patients

BioPen developed, uses 3D printing methods to 'draw' live cells onto patients



BioPen-prototype-635.jpg
Doctors may soon be able to 'draw' new bone, skin and muscle on to patients, after scientists created a pen-like device that can apply human cells directly on to seriously injured people.
 
The device contains stem cells and growth factors and will give surgeons greater control over where the materials are deposited.
 
It will also reduce the time the patient is in surgery by delivering live cells and growth factors directly to the site of injury, accelerating the regeneration of functional bone and cartilage, scientists said.
 
The device developed at the University of Wollongong (UOW) will eliminate the need to harvest cartilage and grow it for weeks in a lab.
 
The BioPen works similar to 3D printing methods by delivering cell material inside a bio-polymer such as alginate, a seaweed extract, protected by a second, outer layer of gel material.
 
The two layers of gel are combined in the pen head as it is extruded onto the bone surface and the surgeon 'draws' with the ink to fill in the damaged bone section.
 
A low powered ultra-violet light source is fixed to the device that solidifies the inks during dispensing, providing protection for the embedded cells while they are built up layer-by-layer to construct a 3D scaffold in the wound site.
 
Once the cells are 'drawn' onto the surgery site they will multiply, become differentiated into nerve cells, muscle cells or bone cells and will eventually turn from individual cells into a thriving community of cells in the form of a functioning a tissue, such as nerves, or a muscle.
 
The device can also be seeded with growth factors or other drugs to assist regrowth and recovery, while the hand-held design allows for precision in theatre and ease of transportation.
 
The BioPen prototype was designed and built using the 3D printing equipment in the labs at Wollongong and was handed over to clinical partners at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, led by Professor Peter Choong, who will work on optimising the cell material for use in clinical trials.
 
"This type of treatment may be suitable for repairing acutely damaged bone and cartilage, for example from sporting or motor vehicle injuries," Choong, Director of Orthopaedics at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne said. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ku Li is the hero

Today, Ku Li is a hero. However, 23 years ago, he was a pariah. But what he said 23 years ago is what he is still saying today. Hmm….the Malaysian mind, in particular the Chinese mind, is most difficult to comprehend.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
However, Ku Li continued: “Let me make it clear, these developments (the decrease of the number of Malays holding key positions in the corporate sector) are not related to racial issues or the special rights of Malays being ignored.”
He pointed out that Malays should not blame others for monopolising economic wealth as they have been given numerous opportunities. The problem actually lies in the lack of necessary knowledge among Malays and thus, they are unable to succeed in the highly competitive business environment.
If they still refuse to make progress and instead continue to rely on the government, then they are bound to be drowned in the wave of globalisation.
Concisely, he raised the key issues while hitting the vital point of Perkasa.
Ku Li also did not forget to give Perkasa his advice: Perkasa should take a good look at itself and ask why it has been mocked and ignored even by the Malay community, whose rights it professes to struggle for. Perkasa is also perceived by many as the cause of splits between the various ethnic communities in the country.
Lastly, he advised Perkasa members to think carefully the rationale and purpose of the party’s existence. They must not act recklessly based on emotions but in accordance with reasons and common sense.
I’m feeling sorry for not being there to see how Perkasa members reacted to the speech, particularly Ibrahim Ali, who might ask himself: “Am I mad? Why did I invite Ku Li to officiate the general assembly?”
Honestly, I don’t think Perkasa members would think more openly, or have their standards improved after listening to Ku Li’s speech.
However, I could imagine how they felt when their fantasy was actually exposed, and I really enjoyed it. The dramatic effects when Ku Li met Ibrahim Ali were even greater than those when Harry met Sally.
Ku Li, thank you for expressing the true feelings of many Malaysians. It was really the best speech of the year, as well as a special Christmas and New Year gift.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Perkasa playing with religious fire

Analysts shred Perkasa’s warning of Christian tsunami

BY JENNIFER GOMEZ
DECEMBER 11, 2013
A Christian tsunami at the next general election? Not likely, say political analysts, who pooh-poohed Malay rights group Perkasa for turning the country’s religious minority into a bogeyman.
Analysts said if the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) Government was sensitive to the needs of Christians, it need not worry about any threat to the survival of Malays and Islam in the country.
A bigger concern was the impact of the “Allah” ruling, said political analyst Khoo Kay Peng, adding that it touched on Christian sensitivities, especially since there was worldwide condemnation over the ruling.
"Christianity is practised by only 9% of the Malaysian population. The only electoral threat could come from Sabah and Sarawak. If the BN-led government is sensitive to the needs of Christians, there should not be any threat," he said.
Last Saturday, Perkasa's Datuk Zulkifli Noordin (pic) highlighted seven threats to the survival of Malay-Islam in Malaysia and warned that the 14th General Election may turn out to be a "Christian tsunami" if the threats were ignored.
He had also listed Pakatan Rakyat, Singapore, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and liberal Malays as threats.
According to Zulkifli, the Catholic church’s move to drag the “Allah” issue to court was provocative and had insulted Muslims.
Political scientist Dr Jayum A Jawan from Universiti Putra Malaysia also dismissed Zulkifli’s warning, saying the Perkasa leader was just looking for a bogeyman.
"I don’t think anyone is trying to convert anybody. This is about faith and beliefs. People either embrace Islam or embrace Christianity, there is no conversion going on.
“They are making these allegations and spreading this talk for reasons best known to themselves."
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political analyst Dr Arnold Puyok agreed, saying: "If there is any threat of proselytising, Perkasa must provide proof of its allegations.
"They are playing with fire by saying such things and the authorities must prevent them from doing so in the name of national security and harmony."
Khoo said civil society and Muslim intellectuals should reprimand Zulkilfi and tear to shreds his baseless assumptions.
He said, however, the prime minister should not join the fray. It was best for “for the PM to stay away from folks like Zulkifli Noordin”.
Jayum agreed, saying: “Asking the PM to rein in Perkasa would be giving them prominence and I don't think we should give them any attention."
Puyok, the other hand, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak should act quickly and boldly, at least by reminding Perkasa to stop making baseless allegations.
"It looks like Perkasa is more potent than Najib's global movement of moderates. Najib should use all the support and powers he has to promote the latter," he said.
On police inaction against people like Zulkifli, Khoo said the police served the ruling party more closely than the public.
“If the regime instructs the police to act against these perpetrators, it is likely that it will do so.
"But is the regime calling for any action against Zulkifli and his seditious statements?” he asked.
Puyok added that the real threat to Muslims was Perkasa trying to instil fear in them that they were losing their racial and religious identity, when, in fact, they were not.
"The status of Islam and the rights of the Malays are safeguarded by the Federal Constitution, so what threats are Perkasa talking about?"
He urged the police to act against Perkasa if their allegations were unfounded.
Jayum agreed, noting that Perkasa's accusations ran contrary to the prime minister's efforts to foster unity.
“The Malays, Chinese and Indians have had good relations all this while and when Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia, it became a more plural society. This is a historical fact that cannot be disputed."
He added that it was unfortunate that the NGO had a narrow view, with many Malays disagreeing with Perkasa.
"Perkasa lacks confidence. Malays today are highly confident, professional and want to reach out to others.
"Perkasa, on the other hand, appears like a relic," Jayum said.
Khoo said while Zulkifli could exercise his freedom of speech, he should not galvanise society to think like him.
"His talk will only impact on unity efforts if Umno and its president endorse Zulkifli's position.
"And if Umno endorses his candidacy again at the next elections, then the party deserves to lose more middle-ground votes."
Both Khoo and Puyok urged the media not to give Perkasa too must space.
"Instead of reporting everything Perkasa says, the media should focus more on efforts by the Government, NGOs or other parties to foster unity and nationhood,” said Puyok.
Khoo agreed, saying the media should stop reporting nonsense.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Low-Cost Titanium Powders changing 3D Printing

Automotive Parts 3D Printed Using Low-Cost Titanium Powders

Published on December 6, 2013 at 8:11 AM

For the first time, low-cost titanium powders, developed by Metalysis, have been used to 3D print automotive parts.

To date, the 3D printing ‘revolution’ has focused on the use of plastics - cheap printers’ feedstock and high throughput. So far, 3D printing with metal has been prohibitively expensive because titanium powders currently sell for $200 - $400 per kilogram, until now. Metalysis has developed a new way of producing low-cost titanium powder, which heralds a new era in additive layer manufacture and will see greater use of titanium in components across the automotive, aerospace and defence industries.
In a further development, the titanium powder used to manufacture the automotive parts is also a world-first, as Metalysis has created titanium from rutile sand, a naturally occurring titanium ore present in beach sands, in one single step. The use of this inexpensive and plentiful feedstock for titanium manufacture will dramatically reduce the cost of titanium production, allowing its increased use.
The Metalysis process is radically cheaper and environmentally benign compared with existing titanium production methods, such as the energy-intensive and toxic Kroll process. Currently, the manufacture of titanium powder involves taking the metal sponge produced by the Kroll process, which is then processed into ingot billets, melted into bar form and finally atomised into powder – a costly and labour-intensive four-step process. Metalysis takes rutile and transforms it directly into powdered titanium using electrolysis, which is cost-effective and thus essential to the supply chain; the low-cost titanium powder can be used in a variety of new applications whereas previously the metal has been excessively expensive for use in mass production of lower value items.
The Mercury Centre, which sits within the Department of Materials at Sheffield University, used Renishaw’s 3D printer to make the parts, demonstrating the feasibility of producing titanium components using additive layer manufacturing. 3D printing brings further cost benefits by reducing waste because the current means of production is subtractive, as components are shaped out of metal billets, which wastes a huge amount of material. Metalysis’ low-cost titanium powder enables additive manufacturing with its metal powder, thereby reducing the quantity of material required.
In addition to titanium, Metalysis is developing tantalum powder and will use its technology to produce a wide range of specialist metals (including rare earths). Furthermore, innovative alloys can be produced using Metalysis’ technology because the process is conducted in the solid state, hence metals with significantly different densities or melting points can be alloyed. Metal powders created by the Metalysis process can be engineered to get particle size and distribution correct for a range of PM applications.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett FRS from The University of Sheffield said: “We are delighted that this innovative work is being undertaken in the University of Sheffield’s world-leading Faculty of Engineering. Most people associate 3D printing with plastic parts, but, with Metalysis’ titanium powder, we have for the first time demonstrated its potential in the manufacturing of metal parts. This is potentially a significant breakthrough for the many sectors which can benefit from its low-cost production. We look forward to continue working with Metalysis as they develop this ground-breaking technology”.
Dion Vaughan, CEO of Metalysis added: “Metalysis’ rutile-derived titanium powder is produced at lower cost and is suitable for 3D printing so that manufacturing metal components becomes more economical. The Metalysis process could reduce the price of titanium by as much as 75%, making titanium almost as cheap as specialty steels. We believe that titanium made by the Metalysis process could replace the current use of aluminium and steel in many products. This world-first for a titanium 3D printed component brings us a step closer to making this a reality.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Umno doom and gloom

Only doom and gloom awaits

CT Ali | December 5, 2013
Malay economic empowerment as promised by Umno is, for most Malays, fool’s gold!
COMMENT
What is happening in Malaysia today is the economic empowerment of a small number of well-connected Malays who have become insanely wealthy through the use of state and federal power to acquire business opportunities from the government, from other people and through the acquisition of assets other people created.
All these economic activities have been fully funded by banks and financial institutions under the control of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government.
These people are well entrenched in the economic and political hierarchies – positions critical to the financial well being of their corporations where the size of their debts to these financial institutions are of no consequence.
The largest of these corporate empires belongs to Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary- 8th richest Malaysian according to Forbes – with a debt of RM34 billion to match.
All this has been done at the cost of impoverishing the entire country. For now the Umno-led BN can hold it together but only just but not indefinitely. When the Umno-empowered economy fails, our country fails. Have no doubt about that!
Tell me which foreign investor would wish to invest in Malaysia once they know Umno as we know Umno?
Who would keep shelling out massive “rent seeking” outlay to politicians and their nominees just so they can trade “on a level playing field?”
What savvy business operatives would continue to pursue business opportunities with strings attached and without incentives?
I have sat in a corporate boardroom where the business of the day consists of earnest discussions between the board of directors of the company and the ‘Umno representative/chairman’ of the company.
The matter discussed? When can a meeting be arranged by the chairman for the company CEO to meet with relevant ministers or the prime minister to discuss the projects they can ‘negotiate’ in the coming months. Or which tender have been earmarked by Umno for the said company?
At RM20,000 a month plus expenses, the chairman has to earn his keep. He has been drawing his chairman’s fee for eight months without any return in sight – surely a worry for any corporation no matter its size.
Corruption and incompetence
The intent of the chairman (as he had quietly informed me at lunch) was that once the meeting was over, he would call for his driver and his company-provided Mercedes Benz and adjourn to a 5-Star hotel to meet with sahabats that walk the corridors of power in Putrajaya.
There they will discuss the coming weekend golfing trip to Jakarta and whether their preferred female caddy would be on duty that weekend.
If not, other arrangements must be made to make their time in Jakarta pleasant and conducive to discuss business opportunities each of them have in their portfolio.
Discussions in Jakarta are preferred to avoid the prying eyes of the locals in KL – so they say.
While some corporations willingly jump into bed with these Malay Mr-Fix-It, the Chinese are far more adept at bypassing or evading the economic empowerment of the Malays if it requires their participation.
Contrary to popular lore, it is the Chinese who are sought after by these Malays “to do business” and not the other way around.
Every changing of the guard within Umno sees the same Chinese corporate figures playing musical chairs with the incoming power that be. And always the Chinese are ahead in the matter of “value for money” invested in these Malays who have nothing to sell but their links to Umno.
The Chinese never allows greed (a human trait that abounds amongst many Umno Malays) to get in the way of a good business deal.
However hard it is becoming to logically defend the economic empowerment of any race, Umno persists in pushing for the continued economic empowerment of the Malays – the Umno Malays that is.
As for political power, Umno is using race to hold on to power. The beneficiaries of Umno’s policy in the BN government are Umno Malays and yet what Umno have promised the Malays are achievable if only corruption and incompetence did not get in the way.
Economic empowerment of the Malays is used as a vehicle to drive corruption and incompetence to the level required.
Corruption and incompetence are entrenched. One feed off the other. We are now experiencing the consequence of decades of corruption and incompetence and if any nation can be said to have a death wish – Malaysia has one.
How can any nation survive?
Competent companies without “meaningful” Malay participation are denied work. These participation comes at a minimum premium of 20% of the contract costs – a costs that the people have to bear.
“Other costs” are factored in after the award of the contract. If variation orders are unable to allow the main contractors to recoup their outlay, then invariably these contracts are not completed on time and within budget or simply abandoned.
This happens everyday in projects after projects, contracts after contracts and in every conceivable “business opportunities” that these opportunistic politicians can dream of.
Fool’s old
Put simply the situation our nation is now in is untenable. The money from Petronas that contributes over 40% of our nations income continues to be the privy of our prime minster – the chief protagonist of this so called economic empowerment of the Umno Malays.
What this prime minister of ours will do with the money is his prerogative. People use their prerogative to do good, unfortunately our prime minister is not that way inclined.
All other financial authorities and institutions from the banks, Tabung Haji, Economic Planning Unit, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Berhad are already compromised for Umno has no qualms in directing them to “assist” in the efforts of Umno to economically empower Malays in Umno.
Soon such distractions as race and religion can no longer be depended upon to rally the Malays against the non-existent threats from the Christians and the Chinese.
Soon there will be no more money for subsidies, no more money to prop up an unsustainable economy and critically for Umno, no more money for money politics.
We hope for the Malays to see that the economic empowerment promised to them by Umno is just fool’s gold.
For the others they already know that there will be no remarkable economic recovery as promised by Najib.
No social change or progress as envisaged in 1Malaysia. No long term vision, no innovative strategies and policies to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation. Only doom and gloom awaits.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

Umno doom and gloom

Only doom and gloom awaits

CT Ali | December 5, 2013
Malay economic empowerment as promised by Umno is, for most Malays, fool’s gold!
COMMENT
What is happening in Malaysia today is the economic empowerment of a small number of well-connected Malays who have become insanely wealthy through the use of state and federal power to acquire business opportunities from the government, from other people and through the acquisition of assets other people created.
All these economic activities have been fully funded by banks and financial institutions under the control of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government.
These people are well entrenched in the economic and political hierarchies – positions critical to the financial well being of their corporations where the size of their debts to these financial institutions are of no consequence.
The largest of these corporate empires belongs to Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary- 8th richest Malaysian according to Forbes – with a debt of RM34 billion to match.
All this has been done at the cost of impoverishing the entire country. For now the Umno-led BN can hold it together but only just but not indefinitely. When the Umno-empowered economy fails, our country fails. Have no doubt about that!
Tell me which foreign investor would wish to invest in Malaysia once they know Umno as we know Umno?
Who would keep shelling out massive “rent seeking” outlay to politicians and their nominees just so they can trade “on a level playing field?”
What savvy business operatives would continue to pursue business opportunities with strings attached and without incentives?
I have sat in a corporate boardroom where the business of the day consists of earnest discussions between the board of directors of the company and the ‘Umno representative/chairman’ of the company.
The matter discussed? When can a meeting be arranged by the chairman for the company CEO to meet with relevant ministers or the prime minister to discuss the projects they can ‘negotiate’ in the coming months. Or which tender have been earmarked by Umno for the said company?
At RM20,000 a month plus expenses, the chairman has to earn his keep. He has been drawing his chairman’s fee for eight months without any return in sight – surely a worry for any corporation no matter its size.
Corruption and incompetence
The intent of the chairman (as he had quietly informed me at lunch) was that once the meeting was over, he would call for his driver and his company-provided Mercedes Benz and adjourn to a 5-Star hotel to meet with sahabats that walk the corridors of power in Putrajaya.
There they will discuss the coming weekend golfing trip to Jakarta and whether their preferred female caddy would be on duty that weekend.
If not, other arrangements must be made to make their time in Jakarta pleasant and conducive to discuss business opportunities each of them have in their portfolio.
Discussions in Jakarta are preferred to avoid the prying eyes of the locals in KL – so they say.
While some corporations willingly jump into bed with these Malay Mr-Fix-It, the Chinese are far more adept at bypassing or evading the economic empowerment of the Malays if it requires their participation.
Contrary to popular lore, it is the Chinese who are sought after by these Malays “to do business” and not the other way around.
Every changing of the guard within Umno sees the same Chinese corporate figures playing musical chairs with the incoming power that be. And always the Chinese are ahead in the matter of “value for money” invested in these Malays who have nothing to sell but their links to Umno.
The Chinese never allows greed (a human trait that abounds amongst many Umno Malays) to get in the way of a good business deal.
However hard it is becoming to logically defend the economic empowerment of any race, Umno persists in pushing for the continued economic empowerment of the Malays – the Umno Malays that is.
As for political power, Umno is using race to hold on to power. The beneficiaries of Umno’s policy in the BN government are Umno Malays and yet what Umno have promised the Malays are achievable if only corruption and incompetence did not get in the way.
Economic empowerment of the Malays is used as a vehicle to drive corruption and incompetence to the level required.
Corruption and incompetence are entrenched. One feed off the other. We are now experiencing the consequence of decades of corruption and incompetence and if any nation can be said to have a death wish – Malaysia has one.
How can any nation survive?
Competent companies without “meaningful” Malay participation are denied work. These participation comes at a minimum premium of 20% of the contract costs – a costs that the people have to bear.
“Other costs” are factored in after the award of the contract. If variation orders are unable to allow the main contractors to recoup their outlay, then invariably these contracts are not completed on time and within budget or simply abandoned.
This happens everyday in projects after projects, contracts after contracts and in every conceivable “business opportunities” that these opportunistic politicians can dream of.
Fool’s old
Put simply the situation our nation is now in is untenable. The money from Petronas that contributes over 40% of our nations income continues to be the privy of our prime minster – the chief protagonist of this so called economic empowerment of the Umno Malays.
What this prime minister of ours will do with the money is his prerogative. People use their prerogative to do good, unfortunately our prime minister is not that way inclined.
All other financial authorities and institutions from the banks, Tabung Haji, Economic Planning Unit, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Berhad are already compromised for Umno has no qualms in directing them to “assist” in the efforts of Umno to economically empower Malays in Umno.
Soon such distractions as race and religion can no longer be depended upon to rally the Malays against the non-existent threats from the Christians and the Chinese.
Soon there will be no more money for subsidies, no more money to prop up an unsustainable economy and critically for Umno, no more money for money politics.
We hope for the Malays to see that the economic empowerment promised to them by Umno is just fool’s gold.
For the others they already know that there will be no remarkable economic recovery as promised by Najib.
No social change or progress as envisaged in 1Malaysia. No long term vision, no innovative strategies and policies to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation. Only doom and gloom awaits.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

Umno doom and gloom

Only doom and gloom awaits

CT Ali | December 5, 2013
Malay economic empowerment as promised by Umno is, for most Malays, fool’s gold!
COMMENT
What is happening in Malaysia today is the economic empowerment of a small number of well-connected Malays who have become insanely wealthy through the use of state and federal power to acquire business opportunities from the government, from other people and through the acquisition of assets other people created.
All these economic activities have been fully funded by banks and financial institutions under the control of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government.
These people are well entrenched in the economic and political hierarchies – positions critical to the financial well being of their corporations where the size of their debts to these financial institutions are of no consequence.
The largest of these corporate empires belongs to Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary- 8th richest Malaysian according to Forbes – with a debt of RM34 billion to match.
All this has been done at the cost of impoverishing the entire country. For now the Umno-led BN can hold it together but only just but not indefinitely. When the Umno-empowered economy fails, our country fails. Have no doubt about that!
Tell me which foreign investor would wish to invest in Malaysia once they know Umno as we know Umno?
Who would keep shelling out massive “rent seeking” outlay to politicians and their nominees just so they can trade “on a level playing field?”
What savvy business operatives would continue to pursue business opportunities with strings attached and without incentives?
I have sat in a corporate boardroom where the business of the day consists of earnest discussions between the board of directors of the company and the ‘Umno representative/chairman’ of the company.
The matter discussed? When can a meeting be arranged by the chairman for the company CEO to meet with relevant ministers or the prime minister to discuss the projects they can ‘negotiate’ in the coming months. Or which tender have been earmarked by Umno for the said company?
At RM20,000 a month plus expenses, the chairman has to earn his keep. He has been drawing his chairman’s fee for eight months without any return in sight – surely a worry for any corporation no matter its size.
Corruption and incompetence
The intent of the chairman (as he had quietly informed me at lunch) was that once the meeting was over, he would call for his driver and his company-provided Mercedes Benz and adjourn to a 5-Star hotel to meet with sahabats that walk the corridors of power in Putrajaya.
There they will discuss the coming weekend golfing trip to Jakarta and whether their preferred female caddy would be on duty that weekend.
If not, other arrangements must be made to make their time in Jakarta pleasant and conducive to discuss business opportunities each of them have in their portfolio.
Discussions in Jakarta are preferred to avoid the prying eyes of the locals in KL – so they say.
While some corporations willingly jump into bed with these Malay Mr-Fix-It, the Chinese are far more adept at bypassing or evading the economic empowerment of the Malays if it requires their participation.
Contrary to popular lore, it is the Chinese who are sought after by these Malays “to do business” and not the other way around.
Every changing of the guard within Umno sees the same Chinese corporate figures playing musical chairs with the incoming power that be. And always the Chinese are ahead in the matter of “value for money” invested in these Malays who have nothing to sell but their links to Umno.
The Chinese never allows greed (a human trait that abounds amongst many Umno Malays) to get in the way of a good business deal.
However hard it is becoming to logically defend the economic empowerment of any race, Umno persists in pushing for the continued economic empowerment of the Malays – the Umno Malays that is.
As for political power, Umno is using race to hold on to power. The beneficiaries of Umno’s policy in the BN government are Umno Malays and yet what Umno have promised the Malays are achievable if only corruption and incompetence did not get in the way.
Economic empowerment of the Malays is used as a vehicle to drive corruption and incompetence to the level required.
Corruption and incompetence are entrenched. One feed off the other. We are now experiencing the consequence of decades of corruption and incompetence and if any nation can be said to have a death wish – Malaysia has one.
How can any nation survive?
Competent companies without “meaningful” Malay participation are denied work. These participation comes at a minimum premium of 20% of the contract costs – a costs that the people have to bear.
“Other costs” are factored in after the award of the contract. If variation orders are unable to allow the main contractors to recoup their outlay, then invariably these contracts are not completed on time and within budget or simply abandoned.
This happens everyday in projects after projects, contracts after contracts and in every conceivable “business opportunities” that these opportunistic politicians can dream of.
Fool’s old
Put simply the situation our nation is now in is untenable. The money from Petronas that contributes over 40% of our nations income continues to be the privy of our prime minster – the chief protagonist of this so called economic empowerment of the Umno Malays.
What this prime minister of ours will do with the money is his prerogative. People use their prerogative to do good, unfortunately our prime minister is not that way inclined.
All other financial authorities and institutions from the banks, Tabung Haji, Economic Planning Unit, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Berhad are already compromised for Umno has no qualms in directing them to “assist” in the efforts of Umno to economically empower Malays in Umno.
Soon such distractions as race and religion can no longer be depended upon to rally the Malays against the non-existent threats from the Christians and the Chinese.
Soon there will be no more money for subsidies, no more money to prop up an unsustainable economy and critically for Umno, no more money for money politics.
We hope for the Malays to see that the economic empowerment promised to them by Umno is just fool’s gold.
For the others they already know that there will be no remarkable economic recovery as promised by Najib.
No social change or progress as envisaged in 1Malaysia. No long term vision, no innovative strategies and policies to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation. Only doom and gloom awaits.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

Umno doom and gloom

Only doom and gloom awaits

CT Ali | December 5, 2013
Malay economic empowerment as promised by Umno is, for most Malays, fool’s gold!
COMMENT
What is happening in Malaysia today is the economic empowerment of a small number of well-connected Malays who have become insanely wealthy through the use of state and federal power to acquire business opportunities from the government, from other people and through the acquisition of assets other people created.
All these economic activities have been fully funded by banks and financial institutions under the control of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government.
These people are well entrenched in the economic and political hierarchies – positions critical to the financial well being of their corporations where the size of their debts to these financial institutions are of no consequence.
The largest of these corporate empires belongs to Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary- 8th richest Malaysian according to Forbes – with a debt of RM34 billion to match.
All this has been done at the cost of impoverishing the entire country. For now the Umno-led BN can hold it together but only just but not indefinitely. When the Umno-empowered economy fails, our country fails. Have no doubt about that!
Tell me which foreign investor would wish to invest in Malaysia once they know Umno as we know Umno?
Who would keep shelling out massive “rent seeking” outlay to politicians and their nominees just so they can trade “on a level playing field?”
What savvy business operatives would continue to pursue business opportunities with strings attached and without incentives?
I have sat in a corporate boardroom where the business of the day consists of earnest discussions between the board of directors of the company and the ‘Umno representative/chairman’ of the company.
The matter discussed? When can a meeting be arranged by the chairman for the company CEO to meet with relevant ministers or the prime minister to discuss the projects they can ‘negotiate’ in the coming months. Or which tender have been earmarked by Umno for the said company?
At RM20,000 a month plus expenses, the chairman has to earn his keep. He has been drawing his chairman’s fee for eight months without any return in sight – surely a worry for any corporation no matter its size.
Corruption and incompetence
The intent of the chairman (as he had quietly informed me at lunch) was that once the meeting was over, he would call for his driver and his company-provided Mercedes Benz and adjourn to a 5-Star hotel to meet with sahabats that walk the corridors of power in Putrajaya.
There they will discuss the coming weekend golfing trip to Jakarta and whether their preferred female caddy would be on duty that weekend.
If not, other arrangements must be made to make their time in Jakarta pleasant and conducive to discuss business opportunities each of them have in their portfolio.
Discussions in Jakarta are preferred to avoid the prying eyes of the locals in KL – so they say.
While some corporations willingly jump into bed with these Malay Mr-Fix-It, the Chinese are far more adept at bypassing or evading the economic empowerment of the Malays if it requires their participation.
Contrary to popular lore, it is the Chinese who are sought after by these Malays “to do business” and not the other way around.
Every changing of the guard within Umno sees the same Chinese corporate figures playing musical chairs with the incoming power that be. And always the Chinese are ahead in the matter of “value for money” invested in these Malays who have nothing to sell but their links to Umno.
The Chinese never allows greed (a human trait that abounds amongst many Umno Malays) to get in the way of a good business deal.
However hard it is becoming to logically defend the economic empowerment of any race, Umno persists in pushing for the continued economic empowerment of the Malays – the Umno Malays that is.
As for political power, Umno is using race to hold on to power. The beneficiaries of Umno’s policy in the BN government are Umno Malays and yet what Umno have promised the Malays are achievable if only corruption and incompetence did not get in the way.
Economic empowerment of the Malays is used as a vehicle to drive corruption and incompetence to the level required.
Corruption and incompetence are entrenched. One feed off the other. We are now experiencing the consequence of decades of corruption and incompetence and if any nation can be said to have a death wish – Malaysia has one.
How can any nation survive?
Competent companies without “meaningful” Malay participation are denied work. These participation comes at a minimum premium of 20% of the contract costs – a costs that the people have to bear.
“Other costs” are factored in after the award of the contract. If variation orders are unable to allow the main contractors to recoup their outlay, then invariably these contracts are not completed on time and within budget or simply abandoned.
This happens everyday in projects after projects, contracts after contracts and in every conceivable “business opportunities” that these opportunistic politicians can dream of.
Fool’s old
Put simply the situation our nation is now in is untenable. The money from Petronas that contributes over 40% of our nations income continues to be the privy of our prime minster – the chief protagonist of this so called economic empowerment of the Umno Malays.
What this prime minister of ours will do with the money is his prerogative. People use their prerogative to do good, unfortunately our prime minister is not that way inclined.
All other financial authorities and institutions from the banks, Tabung Haji, Economic Planning Unit, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Berhad are already compromised for Umno has no qualms in directing them to “assist” in the efforts of Umno to economically empower Malays in Umno.
Soon such distractions as race and religion can no longer be depended upon to rally the Malays against the non-existent threats from the Christians and the Chinese.
Soon there will be no more money for subsidies, no more money to prop up an unsustainable economy and critically for Umno, no more money for money politics.
We hope for the Malays to see that the economic empowerment promised to them by Umno is just fool’s gold.
For the others they already know that there will be no remarkable economic recovery as promised by Najib.
No social change or progress as envisaged in 1Malaysia. No long term vision, no innovative strategies and policies to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation. Only doom and gloom awaits.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

Umno doom and gloom

Only doom and gloom awaits

CT Ali | December 5, 2013
Malay economic empowerment as promised by Umno is, for most Malays, fool’s gold!
COMMENT
What is happening in Malaysia today is the economic empowerment of a small number of well-connected Malays who have become insanely wealthy through the use of state and federal power to acquire business opportunities from the government, from other people and through the acquisition of assets other people created.
All these economic activities have been fully funded by banks and financial institutions under the control of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government.
These people are well entrenched in the economic and political hierarchies – positions critical to the financial well being of their corporations where the size of their debts to these financial institutions are of no consequence.
The largest of these corporate empires belongs to Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary- 8th richest Malaysian according to Forbes – with a debt of RM34 billion to match.
All this has been done at the cost of impoverishing the entire country. For now the Umno-led BN can hold it together but only just but not indefinitely. When the Umno-empowered economy fails, our country fails. Have no doubt about that!
Tell me which foreign investor would wish to invest in Malaysia once they know Umno as we know Umno?
Who would keep shelling out massive “rent seeking” outlay to politicians and their nominees just so they can trade “on a level playing field?”
What savvy business operatives would continue to pursue business opportunities with strings attached and without incentives?
I have sat in a corporate boardroom where the business of the day consists of earnest discussions between the board of directors of the company and the ‘Umno representative/chairman’ of the company.
The matter discussed? When can a meeting be arranged by the chairman for the company CEO to meet with relevant ministers or the prime minister to discuss the projects they can ‘negotiate’ in the coming months. Or which tender have been earmarked by Umno for the said company?
At RM20,000 a month plus expenses, the chairman has to earn his keep. He has been drawing his chairman’s fee for eight months without any return in sight – surely a worry for any corporation no matter its size.
Corruption and incompetence
The intent of the chairman (as he had quietly informed me at lunch) was that once the meeting was over, he would call for his driver and his company-provided Mercedes Benz and adjourn to a 5-Star hotel to meet with sahabats that walk the corridors of power in Putrajaya.
There they will discuss the coming weekend golfing trip to Jakarta and whether their preferred female caddy would be on duty that weekend.
If not, other arrangements must be made to make their time in Jakarta pleasant and conducive to discuss business opportunities each of them have in their portfolio.
Discussions in Jakarta are preferred to avoid the prying eyes of the locals in KL – so they say.
While some corporations willingly jump into bed with these Malay Mr-Fix-It, the Chinese are far more adept at bypassing or evading the economic empowerment of the Malays if it requires their participation.
Contrary to popular lore, it is the Chinese who are sought after by these Malays “to do business” and not the other way around.
Every changing of the guard within Umno sees the same Chinese corporate figures playing musical chairs with the incoming power that be. And always the Chinese are ahead in the matter of “value for money” invested in these Malays who have nothing to sell but their links to Umno.
The Chinese never allows greed (a human trait that abounds amongst many Umno Malays) to get in the way of a good business deal.
However hard it is becoming to logically defend the economic empowerment of any race, Umno persists in pushing for the continued economic empowerment of the Malays – the Umno Malays that is.
As for political power, Umno is using race to hold on to power. The beneficiaries of Umno’s policy in the BN government are Umno Malays and yet what Umno have promised the Malays are achievable if only corruption and incompetence did not get in the way.
Economic empowerment of the Malays is used as a vehicle to drive corruption and incompetence to the level required.
Corruption and incompetence are entrenched. One feed off the other. We are now experiencing the consequence of decades of corruption and incompetence and if any nation can be said to have a death wish – Malaysia has one.
How can any nation survive?
Competent companies without “meaningful” Malay participation are denied work. These participation comes at a minimum premium of 20% of the contract costs – a costs that the people have to bear.
“Other costs” are factored in after the award of the contract. If variation orders are unable to allow the main contractors to recoup their outlay, then invariably these contracts are not completed on time and within budget or simply abandoned.
This happens everyday in projects after projects, contracts after contracts and in every conceivable “business opportunities” that these opportunistic politicians can dream of.
Fool’s old
Put simply the situation our nation is now in is untenable. The money from Petronas that contributes over 40% of our nations income continues to be the privy of our prime minster – the chief protagonist of this so called economic empowerment of the Umno Malays.
What this prime minister of ours will do with the money is his prerogative. People use their prerogative to do good, unfortunately our prime minister is not that way inclined.
All other financial authorities and institutions from the banks, Tabung Haji, Economic Planning Unit, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Berhad are already compromised for Umno has no qualms in directing them to “assist” in the efforts of Umno to economically empower Malays in Umno.
Soon such distractions as race and religion can no longer be depended upon to rally the Malays against the non-existent threats from the Christians and the Chinese.
Soon there will be no more money for subsidies, no more money to prop up an unsustainable economy and critically for Umno, no more money for money politics.
We hope for the Malays to see that the economic empowerment promised to them by Umno is just fool’s gold.
For the others they already know that there will be no remarkable economic recovery as promised by Najib.
No social change or progress as envisaged in 1Malaysia. No long term vision, no innovative strategies and policies to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation. Only doom and gloom awaits.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

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