Saturday, September 27, 2008
di penghujung usia politik
setelah bertahun sebagai kuli
keluar masuk sebuah parti
hentam dari luar dengan semangat 46
menikus dari dalam untuk keselamatan
dan terbuang demi kesetiaan
kau mahu mendaki hirarki
kemuncak kepimpinan bobrok
yang semakin parah
oleh siri kedurjanaan
meratah suci perjuangan
demi survival perut masing-masing
apalagi yang tinggal
selain seluar dalam robek
terlondeh untuk mengubah haluan
bersama hari-hari terakhir
sana sini tongkang sudah pecah
bocor oleh limpahan taik
dan marhaen tidak sabar menanti
untuk kapankan kali kedua
kini dan selamanya
sebagai lambang kebangsatan
sebuah ketuanan sempit
parasit bangsa yang beraja di hati
semuanya sudah terlambat
kalau kuli mahu jadi bos
lebih baik terjun segera
ke tongkang harapan baru
sebelum sekadar jadi kapten
tongkang yang karam
dan lemas hancing
Ku Li: Reject delay of party polls
Andrew Ong Sep 27, 08 2:52pm
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has called on Umno members to reject the postponement of party elections to March next year, purportedly to facilitate a smooth transition of power, as it is not provided for in the party constitution.
“This is extra-constitutional. If there is a transition of power, according to the party constitution, it must be done every three years at all levels,” he said.
He said that the plan for Prime Minister and Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to hand over reign to his deputy Najib Abdul Razak was akin to “passing property” from one to another.
He told a press conference at his Kuala Lumpur residence this afternoon that the new Umno plan unveiled by the party's supreme council yesterday was not acceptable because office bearers should be decided by party members according to party rules.
“If Umno members still believe in the struggle and if they still love the party, to which I have no reasons to doubt, I’m sure they will reject the plan.
“This is not a sandiwara nor a game; First it was on, then off; December, then March, then June. Decide! It is not a small thing. The whole country is waiting to see what happens to the leadership of Umno and the country,” he said.
Tengku Razaleigh stressed several times during the 50-minute press conference that the transition plan was undemocratic and had made Malaysia an international laughing stock.
He said that public anxiety was on the rise as a result of the confusion being caused by the transition plan.
“Even I am getting a bit confused,” he said.
Still gunning for No 1
To a question, Tengku Razaleigh said he is still seeking nominations to contest as party president, regardless whether Abdullah would be defending his post or not.
“I’m praying that I will obtain 140 nominations (to win by default),” he said in jest.
Abdullah is currently under pressure to quit before the party polls and is said to be able to obtain the mandatory 58 nominations from 191 Umno divisions, which will start meeting on Oct 9.
Abdullah now has up to Oct 9 to decide on his fate.
Asked if he would ever reconsider offering himself as a candidate for the party elections, he replied, “I was the first to offer myself (for the post). I don’t normally make ‘flip-flop’ decisions”.
Tengku Razaleigh said that he has not been campaigning because party rules forbid him from doing so, but he would reveal his plan to revive the economy soon, which he will implement if made prime minister.
He claimed that his plan would increase per capita gross domestic income from US$4,000 to US$10,000 in less than five years.
Tengku Razaleigh also brushed aside Kelantan Umno liaison chief Annuar Musa’s claim that the transition plan has the full backing of the state.
“I didn’t attend the meeting, nor did several other division leaders. How can it be unanimous?” said Tengku Razaleigh, who is also Gua Musang Umno division chief and the constituency’s MP.
He said it was likely that there were attempts by certain state leaders to pander to those in Kuala Lumpur and that the grassroots did not agree with the plan.
And as crude yo–yos around $100 there is roughly $124m less reaching the UAE on an average day compared to July when the price touched $147.27.
Since July the fallout from the credit crunch and threats of recession have seen a summer slide in prices, capped by recent turmoil in the US financial markets.
The economic slowdown, which has spread outside the United States and Europe and beyond, means that fundamentally people don't use as much of the black stuff as they once did.
The only saving grace has been the US government's proposed $700 billion bailout, which has eased fears that the world's largest economy was on the brink of collapse and raised expectations that the demand for oil could pick up.
Oil prices regained some poise this week on the back of the announcement after plummeting roughly 27 per cent since July.
The UAE is now left to assess the impact of the last two months' dramatic price fluctuations as it stares $100–a–barrel oil in the face.
Despite the slump, UAE oil companies will still hit their target profits as they planned for double-digit oil prices.
On an average day in July the UAE earned roughly $390m from oil at $147 a barrel. If the same daily production levels were maintained in September – 2.66m barrels – oil income would have dropped to $266m per day.
That's a fall of $124m a day.
But Peter Barker–Homek, Chief Executive of the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa), said a drop in income should not be confused with a cut in expected profits.
He said: "Interestingly a low price per barrel does not necessarily mean low profitability – though it does mean lower turnover. The reason profitability may not suffer particularly is that service costs tend to track the price per barrel. Taqa bought in at a much lower price deck than $90 so we expect to continue having solid results."
At the start of September the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) lowered its forecast for 2009 world oil demand. But according to the International Monetary Fund the UAE's budget break–even price is $23 a barrel.
The UAE's economy will continue to expand but it will simply cost more to achieve the rampant growth which was achieved on the back of rocketing crude prices.
Word from the government is that the economy will remain in "good shape" even if oil retreats to $60 a barrel.
Henry Azzam, Middle East and North Africa CEO at Deutsche Bank, said: "The 50 per cent drop since July will have an impact on the nominal GDP but will not affect real economic growth as this only considers production levels which were set by the government at $40-something a barrel."
Oil price drops might actually do the UAE a favour given that the economy actually "overheated" in the first half of 2008, according to Merrill Lynch.
Inflation has been the nasty byproduct of hyper–growth. But the bank said it expected the emirates to face "headwinds from the global slowdown" which will cool the economy in the second half of the year – and this could have knock–on effects for food and house prices.
Like all airlines, UAE carriers will breathe a sigh of relief at news of cheaper oil – and some have passed cost savings on to passengers through reduced fares.
When oil peaked this summer Emirates President Tim Clark said the airline was paying $30m (Dh110m) more for fuel per week than it budgeted for. Fuel represented 43 per cent of Emirates' total costs, he said. But this is expected to drop well below 40 per cent with oil at about $100.
Emirates spent just over $10.2 billion on fuel last year – almost a third of total outgoings. The Dubai carrier revised ticket prices in the Middle East this month to around 20 destinations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi–based Etihad said its rising fuel bill now accounted for 40 per cent of total costs compared with 20 per cent in 2006.
"The price of aviation fuel may have receded from record highs earlier this year but it still remains a very significant cost for all airlines," a spokesman told Emirates Business.
Etihad launched an aggressive fuel hedging policy in 2007 to help protect itself from the menace of rising oil prices. The airline was 70 per cent hedged in 2007, is 82 cent hedged this year and 41 per cent hedged in 2009.
The spokesman added: "Like most airlines Etihad uses fuel surcharges. However even with these surcharges, Etihad is not able to recover fully the total increase in its fuel bill."
Builders were among the worst hit by the rising price of oil in the summer. The companies they bought materials from saw operational costs skyrocket.
Construction costs in the Gulf increased by 50 per cent in the first half of 2008 compared with a 30 per cent increase in 2007, according to Al Mazaya Holdings, a regional real estate developer.
Experts said the surge in oil prices, along with steep demand in the construction sector, had pushed costs higher."The main outcome of lower oil prices for the construction industry has been that transport costs have eased," said Shyam Bhatia, Chairman of Alam Steel.
He estimated that a typical UAE construction firm would have paid about Dh150,000 for fuel in July. But this would have dropped to roughly Dh110,000 in September, now that oil was around $100 a barrel.
UAE real estate developer Fakhruddin Properties said this week that cement prices have eased as oil demand dropped away in the last two months.
Research firm ProLeads says Gulf projects valued at $48.4bn are either on hold or have been cancelled. They include at least 88 projects in the UAE. "The majority of cancelled or on–hold projects in the region have been affected by material costs," said Sean Hearn, Sales and Marketing Manager at ProLeads.
The performance of UAE markets has loosely mimicked the decline in oil prices from the summer's high. Between July and September the Abu Dhabi and Dubai bourses have dropped by a fifth.
Over the last two months the Dubai Financial Market fell 26.4 per cent while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange lost 22.6 per cent.
Deutsche Bank's Azzam said: "Investors, particularly in retail, look at oil as an indication of where things are heading. And a decline in oil prices has made them more bearish and makes them less enthusiastic about buying shares. The fall in oil price has had a negative impact on confidence levels in UAE markets."
Oil is one of a number of market triggers. The next big event is the company results season, which starts at the end of this month.
Petrol is subsidised in the UAE so motorists get a pretty good deal compared with other major oil–consuming countries, particularly in Europe and North America.
Petrol sells for Dh6.25 and Dh6.75 per gallon in Dubai depending on the grade. Prices have remained unchanged since September 1, 2005.
Enoc, Eppco and Emarat have cut the price of diesel six times since the beginning of August. Diesel currently sells at Dh16.25 per gallon at the pumps in Dubai. Petrol stations said they were forced to drastically increase diesel prices this summer as the price of oil closed in on $150 a barrel.
Adnoc, however, was able to keep prices frozen at Dh8.6 a gallon throughout the oil price spike because it produces diesel from its own crude at refineries in Abu Dhabi.
Petrol prices are fixed by the federal government, but as the cost of oil drops there will be pressure to reflect this at the pumps.
Along Oud Metha, Karama and Al Mankhool, Banks Street before passing through Shindagha tunnel crossing Creek to Deira. This route is now less traveled due to some factors, mainly traffic jam and we have no business to be there.
There was huge traffic jam as shoppers thronged both Al Fahidi Street and Karama Road in Bur Dubai as well as the famous Naif road in Deira. I stopped over at the Computer Plaza to check out any bargains during Ramadan but nothing much was on sale. Laptop prices are still about the same.
Yes, Hari Raya in Dubai would never be the same as the celebration in Malaysia but we enjoy the atmosphere with friends. Of course we miss parents, relatives and friends but life goes on and Dubai offers different Raya with less expenses.....since local Raya here is only a one day affair and most of the money already spent during Ramadan, which is more celebrated than Syawal!
The open house culture is also held and as Raya culture in Malaysia, some open houses are held the whole month by fellow Malaysians.
Anyway, it was a bit of nostalgic trip to Bur Dubai where we were staying for three years before moving to Twar 3. Dubai has changed and progressed so much within a short span of our time living in this cosmopolitant city of Arabia.
Changes have affected almost every resident and/or every facet and the latest is the re-name of street names as well as re-furbishement of road signage.
I realised this change last night on the way to visit a friend house in Jumeirah along Sheikh Zayed Road which is the first phase of this new addressing system. New road names have replaced district names on the signage, yes a bit confusing and baffling even for seasoned driver like me but then again, that's Dubai!
Last Updated: September 25. 2008 11:56PM UAE
New road signage on Sheikh Zayed Road, heading towards Dubai.
It was created to bring Dubai’s road maps into the modern age, but the first phase of implementing the new system of street names has confused motorists and even caused a few road accidents.
Signs along Sheikh Zayed Road, the city’s main thoroughfare, which previously displayed the names of well-known areas such as Umm Suqeim, Al Safa and Jumeirah, have been replaced by boards directing traffic to the areas’ main arterial roads, some of which have been given new names.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) recently started altering road signs in line with the new system that will eventually allocate every street a unique name instead of a number. Many motorists on Sheikh Zayed Road have been baffled by the new signs. Their confusion has been compounded by the fact that several of the road names on them have only just been created under the new addressing regime.
The RTA says the changes are in line with global standards and should not cause confusion for long, as motorists will soon get used to them.The signs at exit 43, which indicated Umm Suqeim, now direct drivers to Al Manara Road, and exit 47, which leads to the Al Safa and Al Wasl districts, is now signposted Meydan Road and Al Hadiqa Road.
“The problem is nobody has heard of these roads unless they live there, so the signs are completely meaningless,” said James Stewart, 31, a recruitment consultant.
“I nearly collided with another car the other day when I was trying to decipher these signs to find my exit. I was trying to get to my friend’s house in Jumeirah 3 and I’d been told to follow signs from Sheikh Zayed Road to Safa Park, but instead I just saw signs to these places I’d never come across before. I was so busy studying the signs I nearly crashed into a car in front of me, which looked like it was having the same problem. I ended up missing my turning and had to pull in and phone my friend for directions – it was very inconvenient but I guess it will be OK once people are used to it.”
Steven Khan, 45, who runs an irrigation business, said he suffered a minor whiplash injury when he hit another vehicle as he craned his neck to read the new sign to Al Hajar Road at exit 46.“It was terrible,” Mr Khan said.
“I was heading to a dental appointment on Jumeirah Beach Road and looking for my exit. When I saw this sign to Al Hajar Road I was convinced I’d missed my turning or something, so I slowed a bit and was looking around and before I knew it ‘bang’ I crashed into the car in front of me.“Luckily it wasn’t very serious, but I got a bit of a whiplash in my neck from the impact.”
Jane Sankar, 44, a resident of Al Safa, said she had noticed traffic slowing down on the approach to the new signs on several occasions.
“More than before I see cars slowing down on Sheikh Zayed Road in those areas, I think because they’re probably confused by the signs,” she said. “I think it’s great what the RTA is doing though – the new address system is definitely necessary, and if that means changing some road signs, then so be it.”
The RTA believes the new road signs format and addressing system – which are to be extended to the rest of the emirate over the next year – will make life a lot easier for residents and motorists. The authority says the changes are to bring Dubai’s roads in line with global standards
Peyman Younes Parham, the RTA’s director of communications, said: “The signs from main roads like Sheikh Zayed Road are being changed so that they point to the main arterial road in an area rather than the area itself. So for example there are now exit signs pointing to streets like Meydan Road and Al Hajar Road. It’s a test phase being carried out between interchanges two and four and it’s a very large operation to get all the different sign boards changed – production of the boards takes quite a long time.
“Whenever you introduce a new scheme like this in a test phase, there’s always going to be some confusion because people are seeing it for the first time. I think drivers will get used to the changes pretty quickly.”Dubai’s new addressing system – which is undergoing a pilot testing in Jumeirah 3 – will replace the system of numbers for minor roads with unique street names. Dubai will also be divided into new zones, each including several districts. Details of the zones have not been released.
Signs with traditional street numbers in the test zone were replaced by road names at the beginning of last month, and literature explaining the changes was distributed to residents. The three-month pilot phase is designed to iron out any problems in the system before implementing it in the rest of the city.