Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is Malaysia amongst the World's Friendliest Countries?

This is based on the western expatriates' experience.
China,India and United Arab Emirates scored low overall because cultural differences from the West made integration difficult. The United Arab Emirates was found to be the most difficult for expats; only 54% of those surveyed said they'd made friends with locals.
However, in my experience, most of people that have resided in Malaysia would say that we are friendliest people. The friendship continue and they keep fond memories of us for our hospitality.

©AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili
The HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer Survey 2008, was conducted by independent research companies. They surveyed 2,155 expats in 48 countries, spanning four continents between February and April 2008. Countries with less than 30 respondents were deemed statistically insignificant. The remaining 14 countries were ranked in four categories: ability to befriend locals, number that joined a community group, number that learned the language and percentage that bought property.

World's Friendliest Countries

David Sutton, 12.10.08, 09:00 AM EST

Those in search of a fresh start might head to these welcoming spots.

The country that once welcomed the tired, poor, huddled masses is now asking for a little reciprocation. And Canada,Germany and Australia are heeding the call.

They top a list of the countries most welcoming to expats. There, relocators have a relatively easy time befriending locals, joining a local community group and learning the local language.

Canada is the most welcoming; almost 95% of respondents to HSBC Bank International's Expat Exploreer Survey, released today, said they have made friends with locals. In Germany, 92% were so lucky and in Australia 91% befriended those living there. The United Arab Emirates was found to be the most difficult for expats; only 54% of those surveyed said they'd made friends with locals.


Bargain-hunting Arab investors go West

It is a fact that Dubai property sales are affected the most during the current turmoil. Few property related companies have already disappeared from the radar. Others are struggling including the giants. More bad news and more job cuts to follow.

A correction time that may have bigger impacts in the future development. For the better of the country....and at the same time the local bargain hunters with cash are enjoying the property bargain sprees all around the and many to choose from!

The below report by Ryan Harrison on Friday, February 20, 2009

UAE-based property investors are being lured like never before by the charms and attractive pricing of cities such as London and New York, as they look to capitalise on a strong dirham.
Global business centres have witnessed house prices weaken considerably from their pre-financial crisis days, some as much as 20 per cent. This, coupled with the weak pound and a strong dollar-pegged dirham, give the UAE investor renewed spending power.
And despite central London residential prices remaining among the highest in the world, current deals will prove cheap for the UAE's big spenders.
Some will be buying a second home or will look to enter the lucrative buy-to-let market, which is expected to hold firm in the coming years.Feedback from this week's International Property Show (IPS) – Dubai 2009 proved that local investors were seeking reliable foreign property that was resilient in the tough times.
London, New York and Paris are on the checklist. They are popular for their bounce-back potential after a recession, according to Vincent Easton, Sales Director at Sherwoods Independent Property Consultants, one of many exhibitors at IPS.
"There was much more of an international feel to the show this year," he said. "You had more UAE investors enquiring about areas like London. There was a strong demand for central London, particularly prime residential property.
The UK and France in general got a good reaction.
"Easton said UK prices were up to 50 per cent cheaper compared to the pre-credit crunch days, when sterling was stronger.
"Investors could get a 30 per cent saving from when the pound was at its highest level. And central London prices have dropped by as much as 20 per cent. So there's a potential for a 50 per cent drop, which is what makes property there very attractive," he said.
"Cities like London have always been resilient during recessions or have been able to bounce back quickly after one. New York has the same dynamics as London. It will feel the effects but things have a habit of recovering."
London residential prices ranked third behind Monte Carlo and Moscow in a recent survey of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, compiled by data firm Global Property Guide.
London is by no means a bargain but the dip in prices, due to the economic climate, and the strong currency decline will spur on investors from the Emirates.Tokyo ranked fourth, followed by Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Singapore.
Dawood Al Shezawi, Managing Director of Strategic Marketing and Exhibitions (SME), the organiser of the IPS, said the easing of prices of the foreign market had pricked local attention, something he noticed as he walked the floor of Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre this week.
"The international exhibitors got a lot of interest because of the financial crisis. A lot of UAE-based investors are interested in overseas markets, especially the UK and US. This is because of the prices at the moment.
"Investors are looking more at residential property rather than commercial in business areas. There's always a market for rental and they do bounce back well after a downturn," he said.
Al Shezawi added that global market conditions had changed the flavour of the show this year. "Whereas last year there were loads of sales and marketing visitors, this week we've seen more actual serious investors attending.
"They know what they want, which improves the standard of the show and gives exhibitors more confidence at a difficult time," he said.
As UAE-based investors increasingly seek solace in proven financial capitals, unfashionable, as well as more developing markets, continue to drop off the radar. Easton said: "Traditional holiday spots in Europe, such as Marbella, have suffered, as well as emerging cities in China. During tough times people tend to retreat to what they know, which means New York, London and Paris.
But he added: "The economies of Egypt and Morroco seem to be holding up very well. They're attractive for investors as infrastructure is being developed, which means there's opportunities to be in at an early stage, plus prices are still quite low."
A global affair
More of a global affair than its UAE-heavy counterpart Cityscape, the International Property Show (IPS) gave overseas sellers a chance to showcase their developments.More than 150 exhibitors from around the world descended on the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre this week in search of regional backing.
The delegation at this year's event included high profile companies from the UK, US, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand, South Africa, Bulgaria, Korea and Cyprus.
Cheaper deals
For UAE investors looking for a cheap deal on foreign property, parts of the Middle East, Latin America and Asia have proved prime locations.In Global Property Guide's top ten least expensive real estate listing, five Latin American cities were featured – Concepcion and Santiago in Chile; Quito, capital of Ecuador; Managua in Ecuador; and Lima, capital of Peru.
The same countries also tend to earn good rental yields.Three Asian cities faired well for potential bargain: Bangalore in India; Chengdu in China; and Jakarta in Indonesia.

Malaysia struggles to save jobs

While United Malay National Organisation leaders are busy with their contests for the party top posts as well as with Perak's illegal state government, Elizabeth Wong nude photos, attacks on Khalid Ibrahim and soon by-elections, there are other pressing issues that not been addressed.

We are losing more jobs and more opportunities with our non-stop-politicking and incessant quests for political survivals. We have imcompetent Prime Minister, scandalous and weak PM-in-waiting and all corrupt leaders behind them without visions to steer the nation out of the mess.

We need new set of leaders and a new federal government!

Published: February 21, 2009, 23:06
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's attempts to boost its faltering economy will likely fail as the drag of falling demand for its main exports of electronics, commodities and oil is too large for any domestic expansion programme to offset.

The government is to introduce a second spending package in March but with a change of leadership looming, the focus is likely to be on preserving jobs in industries that compete on low labour costs rather than restructuring the economy.
While many countries in Asia have acted decisively to staunch the decline in economic activity, unveiling economic stimulus of up to 12 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), Malaysia has lagged, spending just $2 billion (Dh7.35 billion) in its first economic boost.

"I do not think we should expect much out of this [second] package," said Mohammad Ariff, executive director of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, an influential think-tank.
The government has not signalled how big the second package will be, saying only it will be larger than the first, but analysts predict it will be worth between 7 billion ringgit (Dh7.14 billion) to 10 billion ringgit.

"It is a drop in the bucket, less than two per cent of GDP which pales in comparison with what Singapore is talking about," said Ariff.
Asia's economies were initially thought to have escaped from the contagion caused by the US financial crisis but the slump in global demand has caused exports to fall off a cliff.
In Malaysia where exports are equivalent to 100 per cent of GDP, sales overseas slumped by 14.9 per cent year-on-year in December. Electronics, which account for close on 40 per cent of total exports, fell to just 17 billion ringgit, down from a peak of 24.78 billion ringgit in September.
While Malaysia, a country of 27 million people unveiled a timid $2 billion package in November worth just over one per cent of GDP, to boost the economy, neighbouring Singapore by contrast raided its trove of savings accumulated during the boom since 1998 and spent $13.7 billion to boost domestic demand.

This reflects the fact that it saved through the good years. In 2007, Singapore ran a budget surplus 12.2 per cent of GDP and it was in surplus to the tune of 9.5 per cent of GDP in 2008, according to estimates from Deutsche Bank.
Malaysia by contrast spent its way through the boom years for exports, commodities and crude oil and racked up a deficit of 3.3 per cent of GDP in 2007, and likely overshot its planned 3.1 per cent budget deficit target for 2008 with 4.8 per cent of GDP.

Fitch Ratings cut Malaysia's A-plus local currency outlook to negative in February and warned that the government was over-dependent on oil revenues which account for 40 per cent of budget revenue, according to the agency.

Although Malaysia has locked in revenues from high oil prices for the 2009 budget, the drop in crude prices to less than $35 a barrel from over $148 at their peak will make the 2010 budget harder to draw.

As well as being late to apply the spending stimulus needed to rescue Malaysia from what could be its first recession in eight years, the money has not been spent fast enough.
Of the $2 billion already pledged to revive the economy, 70 per cent is still sitting with ministries saddled with bureaucracy rather than being spent, according to government ministers and industry.

"The second stimulus has to cut through present weaknesses in delivery systems, it has to cut through the usual procedural delays, and it all has to happen by June if we are hoping for a cushion," Razali Ibrahim, a lawmaker from the National Front ruling coalition, said.
There are also concerns that political changes are influencing the announcement of the second fiscal package.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also the finance minister, will take over the country's top job but not until after polls in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the main coalition party, in late March.

Although Najib will stand unopposed there are big battles for the deputy presidency of UMNO which could distract the government from implementing the needed budget boost.
Najib will then need to win a key parliamentary by-election in April.
So far, Najib has taken charge of and lost two by-election campaigns, one of which saw opposition leader Anwar Ebrahim return to parliament for the first time in 10 years after a bar on holding office following the expiry of a jail term.

Najib is seen a more decisive leader than Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and skilfully engineered the takeover of an opposition controlled state this month.
But he is less popular among the electorate than the incumbent which means he'll likely focus on populist policies, such as job saving, in the second stimulus.

Muhyiddin catching up with Ali Rustam

United Malay National Organisation's deputy president post race is already into third gear before the assembly where money talks and walks with fierce rivalvry amongst the three corrupt politicians.

To be the best companion and sleeping partner to the President-in-waiting shall be the most stupidiest and corrupted among them. I hope Mat Tyson will win the contest with handsome majority and we can have the most incapable United Malay National Organisation leadership to be buried once and for all.

Muhyiddin catching up
By Zainal Epi

UMNO vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is fast catching up with Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam in the race for the party’s deputy president post.
The International Trade and Industry Minister is making a move after two months of lagging behind Mohd Ali, whose aggressive campaign has catapulted him into the lead.
The third aspirant, Regional and Rural Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, is inching up slowly and is said to be busy visiting kampungs implementing the ministry’s policy to eliminate hardcore poverty.
Muhyiddin topped the nominations following his call for a transfer of leadership after the Barisan Nasional performed badly in last year’s March general election.
His call to party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down won overwhelming support from party grassroots and that was reflected when Umno divisions strongly backed him in the nominations for the deputy president’s post vacated by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who takes over as president next month.
After the completion of division annual general assemblies at the end of November and a very vigorous campaign, Muhyiddin’s popularity faded as Mohd Ali took the lead.
Now, however, Muhyiddin is narrowing the gap. As the March 26 party polls date nears, all three aspirants are using their personal touch with delegates in what is considered the final push.
In Umno, the personal touch is highly regarded. All three are touring the country, visiting the homes of delegates in every State, and getting as close as possible to every delegate that attends their gatherings.
Time is not on their side as they have just a month to go. And, there are 2,700-odd delegates to tackle.