Sunday, February 08, 2009

Is Dubai another victim of Rumours?

There was a report published in major papers about 3,000 vehicles had been abandoned at the Dubai International Airport. This is due to the current downturn with thousands of expats affected by retrenchment had to leave Dubai. However, Chief of Police refuted the report as rumours.

Only 11 cars left at Dubai airport in past year

CAR WARS: Dubai police said just 11 cars have been left at the airport in the past year not 3,000. (Getty Images)
Only 11 cars have been abandoned at Dubai airport in over a year, according to the emirate’s chief of police in a stinging attack on the country’s media for misreporting the facts.

Clarification on the number of cars left at Dubai International Airport came following repeated media reports that the figure had hit 3,000, as increasing numbers of expatriates fled the emirate as a result of the economic crisis.

And read some comments from the readers.

imagine many of the comments here will be disbelieving of the claim only 11 cars were abandoned (I have no thoughts either way). And I think that indicates the problem - people are used to seeing information spun and manipulated in Dubai and there is widespread mistrust of 'official' information.

For the last few years, the media has seemed unanimous in carrying the message that Dubai offers safe, high returns with zero risk of a crash. Most other countries with smaller booms had some 'voices of doom' highlighting concerns about the sustainability of the market. Such views in Dubai rarely made the media. But you heard them all the time at barbecues, round the pool and anywhere people discussed things.

This contrast is what creates distrust of official information - most people see what is happening abroad and see the parallels with Dubai, but the media persist in pushing the official line that there is no coming crisis. The mistrust grows when those negative voices round the pool turn out to be right.

What is needed is more openness. Trust is something that is earned, and the local media and the local authorities need to earn that trust so that people will not automatically question anything positive they say. Legislating to fine journalists for 'negative' stories will absolutely have the opposite effect.

It will take time, but until we can turn on the local TV news and regard it is a true representation of real events, people will continue to rely on blogs and rumours.

While reading same on Gulf News, there was a comment when Mr. Khalfan said a lot of people are jealous of Dubai growth. It is not really a matter of jealousy. Its a matter of the people who worked all the way for Dubai's growth – The Middle Class, were left totally in darkness and completely ignored. If Dubai had taken care of the Middle Class who are the striving backbone of Dubai economy, they would have not had any jealousy comments and would show their complete love and support. Also for the fact that, they have to pay high fees, get ill-treated at government departments were just few to name reasons for jealousy.

We don't hate Dubai. We all love it. But we expect some love and respect back as well. Isn't it a give and take situation when it comes to love and respect?

what about the increase in number of crimes varying from car thefts to home thefts which is happening on daily basis in sharjah (which most dubai labor lives in). last week a kill crime took place. Lots of people who lost their jobs just try to get anything even 10,000 AED and fly back to home country. I am not accusing or defending a specific nationality; we have to admit that this is happening. My neighbour is a crime report writter in Sharjah police, and they called him at 3 a.m. "come to office immediately 1 kill lcrime and 28 thefts". Why isnt this published ?
Why doest Dubai airport official comment on the "RUMOURS"...why does Dubai airport staff provide such info ..? There is no one who hates this country; but keeping people living in a dream is the biggest crime, officials must admit that the situation is bad and warn people before we start having gangsterships all arround and end up with more human crisis rather than damn economic wont life back someone who gets killed ..correct me if am wrong Mr.Tamim, with all respect you, i like you very much, beause you retain morals throughout your career life. But now is the real time for transparency. Best of luck to all.

'Hopping is legal and constitutional' - Prof Abdul Aziz Bari in Malaysiakini

Constitutional expert professor Abdul Aziz Bari said that Karpal's grouse against Anwar over the latter's policy on party hopping was weak and flawed.
"Hopping is legal and constitutional," he told Malaysiakini.
He said that switching sides may even be approved by the voters.
"In any case come election they will decide whether it is moral or otherwise," he added.

And on the test of morality attached to these defections, Abdul Aziz said: "Simple. Don't bribe, kidnap or intimidate members of parliaments or state assemblyperson. Let them decide on their own freewill."

He also said that a law to stop the hopping, as espoused by Karpal, was unconstitutional as it would breach someone's right to association.

"There is even a case to stress this point - the Supreme Court ruling in 1993 in the Nordin Salleh case," he said.
Abdul Aziz was referring to Karpal's outburst earlier today, blaming Anwar for the disarray Pakatan was in at the moment, especially in Perak.
The DAP politician also urged Anwar to step down as the chief of Pakatan, stating that Anwar had created enough trouble for Pakatan with his open calls of enticing defectors from Barisan Nasional to form the federal government.

Last week, defections from Pakatan resulted in the collapse of the Perak government, with BN taking over, with the support of the Sultan of Perak.

Although the state was led by a PAS leader, DAP was seen as the biggest loser in the collapse as the party had dominated the state assembly with its members.
Karpal told reporters today that Karpal said that party-hopping can never be justified.

Sultan's reserve power
On another matter, Abdul Aziz also said that it was time for people to stop criticising Sultan Azlan Shah for asking Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin to step down and then hand over the powers to BN's Zambry Abd Kadir.

At the same time Mohd Nizar has refused to resign, stating that he will do so once a vote-of-confidence is taken at the state assembly, or with the dissolution of the assembly.

This situation has resulted in Perak having two menteris besar at work.

And the sultan has been widely blamed for causing this situation, over his refusal to dissolve the assembly so that the people can decide on who the want to lead them through polls.

"I think we got to be fair to the sultan and suggest ways to solve the problem," said Abdul Aziz.

He added that it appeared as though the BN has realised the critical state the matter has come to now and perhaps not knowing how to solve the situation."

Zambry seems to have realised the difficult position he is in. BN have stopped the 'uncivilised' approach taken by the state secretary and Ipoh police chief early Friday morning. Now the new MB says Nizar can take time to vacate the official residence," he said.

He however added that neither the federal constitution nor the state constitution provided any remedy for the prevailing situation.

However he said that in constitutional law theory there was a view which allowed the head of state to take drastic measures to handle such a situation.
"This includes what is known as reserve powers. And apart from this power, I believe the sultan can act on the state authority vested in his office.

And he suggested that the two things the sultan could do now to solve the impasse are:
  • To revoke the appointment of Zambry and restate Nizar (though this may not be necessary as revocation is enough to allow Nizar to continue), or
  • To use the reserve powers to dissolve the assembly so that a state election could be held. He added that in the meantime, the Nizar government could be retained as caretaker government.
Alternatively, the state secretary can be asked to undertake the routine administration of the state.
The sultan can do either of these to empower and enhance democracy.

Thirty years later IRAN continues to turn heads

It is a fact that Iran is more democratic than Malaysia. The scope of political freedom has increased, due to higher public awareness of rights. Our so-called democracy is mostly to the advantages to the ruling corrupt elit under United Malays National Organisation.
With a Hadhari Mullah and soon "I swear by the Quran' Mullah, our political landscape will be more limited as per under Mahathir's megalomaniac rule.

The key slogans that echoed in Iran 30 years ago were freedom, independence, and the Islamic government. Realising these slogans and fulfilling promises are still major challenges for Iran's leaders.

Freedom was the most important slogan as the Shah did not tolerate any political dissent in the last decade-and-a-half of his rule. However, the Iranians were socially free and had personal freedoms. This has reversed and personal freedoms are more limited today. Yet the scope of political freedom has increased, due to higher public awareness of rights and spaces created by factional friction. Also interest in political activities and constant demands for more freedom have been on the rise.
Periodic attempts by the regime to restrict these spaces have not reduced the appeal for more freedom. Too often, in recent years, newspapers have been closed down on flimsy grounds such as crossing the undefined "redlines". Books and films continue to be censored on religious, social and some political grounds.
Independence was the second slogan. Political independence from interfering foreign powers, and in particular the West, is seen as one of Revolution's most important achievements, with some arguing that the revolution was just about that. The cost of achieving independence has been high. It is argued that a more responsible and nuanced, and less militant, approach by the young revolutionary regime would have brought the cost considerably down. For example, Saddam Hussain would not have been supported in his war with Iran (1980-88).
The third slogan was about the Islamic government. Debates over governance have been most challenging. After 30 years of Islamic rule, consensus has not yet been reached over its nature, either in theory or practice.
The constitution is based on the separation of the three branches of power, superimposed, with an all-powerful supreme leader, and an unelected Council of Guardians that can veto the choice of the electorate. The structure is in fact a theocracy with some democratic features.
When in 1979, the revolutionaries settled for the Islamic Republic, they made a historic compromise: Islamic to satisfy the doctrinaire, and Republic to placate the democratic forces. This will have to be resolved sooner rather than later.
Current reformists see the people as the source of their legitimacy and, despite all their shortcomings and institutional restrictions, they have attempted to respond to their constituencies' demands for a responsive government. The conservatives, who call themselves "principalists," these days see people as only offering acceptability to their rule and not legitimacy.
This attitude among the conservatives means that whenever, in recent years, the electorate has been given a genuine opportunity to exercise its free choice it has challenged their assumption. The election of president Khatami in 1997 was one such occasion. Khatami, in the eyes many of his supporters, did not fulfil, or was stopped from delivering all he promised. Yet his presidency proved to be more effective than before.
But a large segment of Iran's 50 million electorate does not always show interest in the factional politics. The politicians in the Islamic Republic have collectively failed to set up a viable system based on nationally organised and representative political parties. This means that there is neither a politically neutral professional civil service nor a shadow opposition government.
The country suffers from the trial-and-error attitude and pays for it with its largely oil-based economy. The system is so politicised that factions, when they take over, install their own officials, even locally.
Although Iran's full potential has not been realised, the process of physical modernisation of the country has gone further than ever and has connected the countryside to the cities. In the field of health, transportation and communication, the basic infrastructures have been created.
Public and private investment in education has been one of the most interesting features of Iran in the past three decades. An education-led social change, in particular in sectors of the religious middle class and countryside, has helped bring the ratio of female students in Iranian universities to over 60 per cent of intake. Many of these educated women are now leading writers, filmmakers, social workers, scientists, teachers and doctors. But they are under-represented in the political and higher decision making bodies. Financial independence for educated women means more women making their choices in where to live and who to marry.
Graduates and other young people, who make up two-thirds of the population, are also constantly struggling to win more social space from hardliners who see and turn social rebellion, so common among worldwide youth, into political rebellion. Cultural resistance to impositions on clothing, fashion and hairstyle, to mention the most obvious, is a common feature of society.
Lack of sufficient job opportunities for much of this creative and young population means disappointment at the ruling politicians. The growth of cynicism, leading a double life, not to mention addiction and other social problems are other side effects.
Faced with social restriction at home, the Iranians have turned to cyberspace. This has turned the young Iranians into a major blogging community which is surfing the internet in search of news, analysis, entertainment and interaction with millions of Persian speakers living in the Diaspora. Persian, therefore, has become a key language of the web.
The officials have done their best to control all forms of indigenous and western culture deemed un-Islamic. But they have not been able fully to control the trend as cyberspace and satellite TV stations attract millions of Iranians.
A large part of the budget is spent on fighting what they term as attempts by the West for soft overthrow or "velvet" revolutions.
A counter culture is taking root in Iran, making inroads even into the traditional and official society. Official ideology has lost its appeal among the youth.
The Islamic republic has survived for three decades and met external challenges such as a war with Iraq and even sanctions. Managing the expectations of a population that desires a better standard of living, would be a very big challenge for the republic.
Tension with the outside world has helped to postpone the internal demands of the past. That is why some hardliners are not keen to unclench their fists for the time being.

Baqer Moin is a specialist on Iran and the former head of BBC Persian service. His book Khomeini, Life of the Ayatollah will be published by I.B. Tauris in London in paperback edition next week.

All talk is about property in the UAE

The report from Emirates business below could be more political than economic matters. It is hard to revive the current bad fortune in the real estate and property market.

However, it is not yet the right time to grab the ever increasing number of property-for-sale as the market is still falling. The question is how low will the prices go? I bet we have not seen the end of the correction period yet.

That could be either good news (for prospective buyers) and bad news (for the property owners) as well as those in the property development business (like me).

Reversing rents, decelerating market prices and the chance to pick up a bargain if you have the readies – property has never been a hotter topic in the UAE.

It is the one conversation guaranteed to draw opinions from even the most reticent of people, because the cost of putting a roof over our heads affects everyone.
After years of unchecked rises – which saw annual rent double in as little as two years – there is no denying the global economic slowdown has impacted this region. But the recently published Rental Index put the cat among the pigeons by suggesting, in a declining market, many people were still paying too little for their homes.
As the situation seemingly became a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, Emirates Business attempted to answer the questions on everyone's lips, from defaults, development stallings, to the outlook for the market, short and long term. In a far-reaching round-table interview, six experts – regulators, developers, property services, financial services and agents – over four-pages of the print edition of the paper last Friday, gave frank and realistic responses.

They welcomed the end of an era of speculation, which had fuelled prices, and suggest the scales had tipped in the favour of the buyer.

Developers also face heftier fees in the future and the real threat of having their licenses revoked by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) for the failure to honour sale and purchase agreements, they said.
They also spoke of the options open to investors faced with the prospect of a property on hold, or a developer that has defaulted on payments. Pertinently, the panel suggested drawbacks to the Rental Index and they evaluated the best buys for investors with cash and in search of a bargain.

Markus Giebel, CEO of Deyaar and one of the panel, said: "A positive outcome from this crisis has been the end of speculative demand for off-plan property."
Fellow panellist Peter Riddoch, CEO of developer Damac Properties, said: "The outlook will be better regulated and safeguarded to protect the interests of the investors. This means the developers will have to undertake considerable more preparatory work."
And Mohammed Kamran, Associate at Al Tamini and Company, in response to a question about the outlook for property prices in 2009, said: "Completed properties will have fallen significantly and should bottom out in the second quarter."
Andrew Chambers, MD of property services firm Asteco, said: "We are seeing secondary property sales at lower levels than developer prices in certain areas, primarily owing to distress sales."
This lengthy Q&A was the second best-read story online last week, bearing testament that people want clear guidance as they take tentative steps through a minefield of conflicting information.
As a counterpoint to these interviews, on the same day of publication, Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's executive council, touched on the situation in the capital.At the end of the three-day Abu Dhabi Real Estate and Investment Show, he said the real estate market in Abu Dhabi had become tempting to investors because of a decline in prices due to the global financial downturn.In a story that also made it into the top five best-read stories online last week, Sheikh Sultan s
aid the property sector in the emirate was passing through "a correct period" triggered by the global crisis and the ensuing crash in crude prices.

"The current period is extremely encouraging and tempting for investment in the real estate market in the emirate following the decline in property prices, which have become very attractive compared with the previous period," he said.

Ultimately, the facts seem to suggest that people in a position to weather a battering in the current economic storm will be better placed to invest once the clouds clear. And those with the money to invest now – and not later – are well placed to pick up a bargain.

Press Clippings –Sunday 08 February 2009

· Construction costs per square foot in Dubai are falling once again by around 70.83% from a high of Dh1,200 per sq. ft. and developers are taking advantage of the situation and renegotiating contracts. Business 24/7
· Findings by Dubai-based market research firm Proleads on Dubai’s property market. Arabian Business
· Real estate developers in the region will need to focus more than ever on end-user requirements. Business 24/7
· RERA has told developers not to increase or modify service charges on their property without the regulator's approval. Business 24/7
· Pakistani master-developer of real estate projects, Chapal World is offering an eight-year flexible payment plan with just Dh5,000 deposits to attract end-users, that analysts say, could stimulate the UAE's stagnant property market for a solid growth. Gulf News
· Property management firms will buck current market trends and grow at least 15 per cent in 2009. Growth in sector will be fuelled by the handover of more completed projects this year. Business 24/7
· · Top tips to home in on a loan. Business 24/7

Melayu Perak dan Ketuanan UMNO

Semua media kepunyaan United Malays National Organisation mendakyah mengenai derhaka kepada raja....hati saya berkata, KEPALA HOTAK KAMU!

Bagaimanakah kerajaan PR diguling dan siapakah MB baru United Malays National Organisation di Perak dan inikah simbol ketuanan Melayu United Malays National Organisation di Perak.

Nizar berdarah Cina manakala Zambry lebih kelihatan seperti ahli MIC...saya bukan rasis tetapi inilah hakikat mengenai United Malays National Organisation yang menggunakan raja-raja untuk survival diri. Kami mahu pemimpin yang bukan perompak dan pembohong besar, merampas hak rakyat.

Lupakah tragedi menghina sultan-sultan Melayu oleh Mahathir sewaktu krisis perlembagaan yang dicetusnya dan terbaru menghina Agong di Trengganu, siapa panggil Sultan Terengganu 'BINATANG?"

Utusan muka depan:

Jangan hina Raja Melayu
Sebagai seorang Melayu, saya juga terguris, tidak gembira dengan perkembangan terbaru ini terutama tindakan Pengerusi DAP, Karpal Singh yang mahu menyaman Sultan Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah. – DR. MAHATHIR MOHAMAD (Bekas Perdana Menteri)...

dan berita terkini

Zambry jamin bela nasib kaum India di Perak
08/02/2009 11:48am
IPOH 8 Feb. — Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir hari ini memberi jaminan nasib orang India di negeri ini akan terus dibela walaupun kaum itu tidak mempunyai wakil daripada Barisan Nasional (BN) dalam Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN).
Beliau berkata kaum India tidak perlu bimbang kerana kepentingan mereka tidak akan dipinggirkan kerajaan negeri BN.
“Walaupun tidak ada wakil kaum India. Namun dijamin semuanya akan dijaga dengan sebaik mungkin,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas hadir di majlis sambutan Thaipusam di Kuil Arulmigusubramania, Gunung Cheroh, di sini pagi ini.
Beliau mengulas mengenai pertimbangan yang diambil oleh kerajaan negeri BN yang tidak mempunyai wakil kaum India dalam pembentukan barisan Exco kerajaan negeri Perak yang baru, yang dijadual mengangkat sumpah di Istana Iskandariah, Kuala Kangsar, Selasa ini.
Terdahulu, Zambry yang diiringi Timbalan Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Senator T. Murugiah dan Pengerusi MIC Perak Datuk G. Rajoo tiba di kuil itu pukul 8.30 pagi, telah meluangkan masa selama lebih 40 minit beramah mesra dengan penganut Hindu yang menyambut Thaipusam.