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theSun | FRIDAY OCTOBER 16 2009 13

speak up!

Debate national
issues first Down2Earth
by Terence Fernandez

THE priorities of some peo- second fiddle to Bangsa Ma- dawns on us tomorrow, I for
ple, or the lack of them, at laysia: 1People (Question 1); one am glad that newspaper
times, amuse me to the point Status of defunct Bernama vendors, the majority of
of tears of frustration. TV (Question 5); Regain- whom are Hindus will not
You see it in politicians ing control of Bernas from have to divide their time
such as those in Puteri Umno foreign hands (Question between work and being
who actually included the 8); and Malaysia-Indonesia with their family on this
ban on horror movies as a ties (Question 9), among auspicious day.
resolution – yet they want to others beg the question of That Umno had decided
be taken seriously. whether Parliament at times to conclude its assembly on
PAS Youth continues to truly addresses the rakyat’s the eve of Deepavali helps
harp on morality and ban- concerns. assure Indians, particularly
ning “yellow culture” but A RM90 million renova- Hindus that the community
has been silent on corrup- tion of the august house matters and they have a role
tion. is not what a First World to play in nation-building.
Various state religious Parliament is all about. That there will be no ac-
councils have issued fatwas It is about respecting the cusations of insensitivities
– without the consent of the people’s wishes and giving hurled at each other from
rulers – on subjects as di- equal regard to all members both sides and that the
verse as tomboys and yoga, of Parliament irrespective of “amanat presiden” (presi-
yet no one has heard of an the political divide. dent’s winding-up speech)
edict against graft, racism In the case of PKFZ, one will be able to be perused by
and abuse of power. cannot fathom why if we all, is a stark contrast from
When Parliament recon- can convene an emergency ugly events of last year,
venes on Monday, we will sitting of Parliament for the when due to various issues
see more examples of how Palestinian cause, we can- and incidents, community
important national issues not have one that addresses relations were as brittle as
have to take a back seat the country’s largest ever fresh muruku.
to what can be perceived financial scandal which af- Hopefully, the gulab
as political pandering and fects people closer to home. jamun syrupy sweetness of
rhetoric. Well, I suppose that will the 1Malaysia concept will
The Port Klang Free Zone be one of life’s greatest mys- resonate among all Malay-
(PKFZ) affair which has all teries which even Inspector sians and not die a natural
but turned the administra- Hercule Poirot would not be death like other slogans
tion on its head does not able to unravel – although which were killed by the
feature as among the main how the powers-that-be realities of selfish politics.
topics for discussion on the have gone about it is more
budget session. akin to the bumbling In-
DAP stalwart Lim Kit spector Clouseau. Terence wishes all Hindus a
Siang had every right to All these continue to add Happy Deepavali and hopes
grumble that his question fuel to the fire and provide the feel-good factor of the fes-
on the RM12.5 billion fiasco more ammunition to detrac- tive season will not burn out
has been deferred to Dec 3. tors that PKFZ will eventu- as quickly as a sparkler. He is
A topic of national interest ally be buried and put to deputy editor special reports
especially of the magnitude rest far from the etches of & investigations and can be
of the PKFZ demands a spe- the short memories of the reached at terence@thesun-
cial debate of its own. majority of the public. and followed on
That the PKFZ plays As the Festival of Lights twitter @ TerencetheSUN


Why we need the Asian currency

THE root cause of the reces- giving out loans. Compounding countries using the US dollar in
sion is the US monetary system interest causes money and international trade.
and if the world was not so debt to grow exponentially, way The US dollar’s days as
dependent on the US dollar, beyond the level that can be the key global currency are
the scenario today could have achieved by the real economy. numbered. Even Unctad (UN
turned out differently The excess money in the Conference on Trade and
That is why the call by the economy was used by invest- Development), has said that
new prime minister of Japan, ment banks and big institutions the world needs a new global
Yukio Hatoyama, for the setting to invest in complicated invest- monetary system to prevent
up of an East Asian Economic ment vehicles called CDOs speculations and to avoid large
Community (or Asian com- (collaterised debt obligations) trade imbalances.
munity) and its very own cur- and MBS (mortgaged backed For us in Asia, having our
rency should be welcomed by securities). Both the CDOs and own currency unit is a move
Malaysians. the MBS are connected to the in the right direction. Asia is a
The suggestion for an Asian sub prime housing loans. When force to be reckoned with. After
currency to replace the use of the housing property bubble all as pointed out by the former
the US dollar is nothing new; burst, and loans could not be governor of India’s central bank,
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad repaid, falling prices of MBS Y.V. Reddy, Asia has 67% of the
suggested it way back in the and CDOs got these financial world’s currency reserves, 55%
1990s. institutions into trouble and it of the world’s population and a
A big flaw of the US dollar is spread beyond the US because significant share of the world’s
that it is not backed by anything. major European institutions Gross National Product.
(Though it was backed by gold had also bought heavily into The proposed Asian cur-
until August 1971). It not being the CDOs and MBS. rency should be based on real
backed by anything means that Before it became fiat money money so that it will be stable
there is no limit to the amount (not backed by gold) the US and stability is needed for eco-
that can be printed and injected dollar could be redeemed at nomic development. It should
into the economy whenever a set price of US$35 an ounce. preferably be backed by gold
the need arises. However, the But without any asset backing as previously suggested by Dr
central bank of the US is not the the US dollar derives it value Mahathir.
only body with the “power” to based only on whatever it is
create money out of thin air, perceived to be worth and that S.M. Mohamed Idris
the banking institutions too can is why the value of the US dollar President
“create” money on their own. is subject to fluctuations. This Consumers Association
Banks create money by can be a great disadvantage for of Penang