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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

The Budget And The Story Of Shahrazad

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 05:02 PM PDT

But thanks to a handful of desperate, confused but well-intentioned souls who approached me with interpretations of the Oct. 25 budget, I can now belatedly put in my two sen worth of thoughts down.

Incidentally, two cent is worth nothing these days. Even RM1 buys very little. Inflation you see. Incidentally too, the Finance Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, said little about the ringgit, which a lot of people say has declined in value against major global currencies.

A Malay lawyer with officers in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta approached me on Sunday at my favourite kopitiam in Damansara Utama. He said it was not the taxation that concerns him but the manner in which government spends public money is worrying him.

He did not think Mohd Najib argued the case on expenditure strongly and convincingly. He sees the government as extravagant and wasteful – giving token handouts to the millions and spending hundreds of millions funding the renovating official residents, officers and foreign trips of a handful of ministers and their shopaholic spouses.

Incidentally, soon after presenting his so-called "bite the bullet" Finance Minister, who is also the Prime Minister, took off to London to attend the World Islamic Economic Forum.

Biting A Dud Bullet

Several former MPs, including those who had served as Ministers, saw the budget as a letdown, in particular over the claim that the Government is biting the bullet.

"What biting the bullet, the Prime Minister is still trotting the globe and billions of ringgit are still being handed out?" asked one former Minister who had his salary cut by (Tun) Daim Zainuddin, during the economic crisis of the mid-1980's.

He recalled how the civil service unions threatened to strike if their salaries were frozen and perks reduced. Daim called them for a meeting and showed them the near empty government coffer. They believed and supported the austerity drive that followed.

Maybe the PM isn't biting the real bullet. He is biting a dud one.

Only two things are worth mentioning, said the former Minister. One is the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the other is the re-imposition of the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) for short-term property deals. The RPGT isn't new. It has been there for a long time but was withdrawn in the post-Mahathir era in favour of stamp duty.

The concern, said the ex-minister was speculation and not collecting stamp duty. After the RPGT was done away with, speculation shot up, property glut worsened and very few genuine buyers could now afford to buy houses. He suspects that property-based non-performing loans (NPLs) are high but the Bank Negara is hiding it. What say our award-winning Governor?

I have said a zillion times that time will sooner or later come when the property bubble bursts and the financial system sees the repeat of the 1997/98 financial meltdown.



Maybank2U and Maybank2E Graded as 'F' by HTTPS Security Test, Lowest Among Eight Local Online ...

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 09:10 AM PDT

That being said, Maybank2U – which is arguably the most popular among all the test subjects – is not of part of this group. Instead, Maybank2U is graded as F in the test due to its support for SSL 2.0 which is said to be obsolete and insecure. Additionally, the test results further stated that Maybank2U also supports a number of weak ciphers and is no equipped with forward secrecy feature.

While Maybank might have implemented additional security measurements around the service, this news is rather alarming given the popularity of Maybank2U among users. Similarly, the service's enterprise counterpart - Maybank2E - is also rated F by the test although the reasons are much more worrying which include the support for insecure renegotiation and higher vulnerability to denial-of-service attack.

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