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Articles on this Page
- 10/08/16--00:03: _Internet addiction ...
- 10/21/16--00:47: _China space economy...
- 04/19/17--23:15: _Johor’s biggest cor...
- 05/02/17--00:03: _Get-rich-quick sche...
- 06/11/17--05:23: _Earn your money the...
- 06/13/17--23:27: _Goodbye Motorola! H...
- 01/14/18--05:15: _Goodbye, Silicon Va...
- 03/01/18--01:16: _Attacks against Mal...
- 09/03/18--23:22: _Rocky times ahead f...
- 09/12/18--23:00: _Vanishing Jobs Grow...
- 09/15/18--00:59: _Get-rich-quick ‘Bit...
- 11/11/18--01:54: _World’s first artif...
- 06/13/17--23:27: Goodbye Motorola! How Chicago’s greatest tech company fell to earth?
- 01/14/18--05:15: Goodbye, Silicon Valley
- 09/03/18--23:22: Rocky times ahead for China FDI in Malaysia
- 09/12/18--23:00: Vanishing Jobs Growth Spells Deep Trouble for South Korea
- 11/11/18--01:54: World’s first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor
Enough evidence to show links to anxiety, decreased job productivity, says expert.
CYBERJAYA: A 14-year-old boy loved gaming so much that he did not leave his home for half a year until his parents hauled him to therapy for Internet addiction.
This sounds like a story that happens in Japan, China or South Korea, where teenagers have died from binging on their computers. But this case happened right here in Kuala Lumpur.
At the International Society of Internet Addiction (Isia) Conference here, researchers said they were most worried that Malaysian youth were increasingly using the Internet in excess, with local studies revealing that 37% of Malaysian parents felt their children’s online life was interfering with their home and school obligations while 18% said their children were sacrificing basic social activities.
The research, led by child psychologist and Isia spokesperson Dr Norharlina Bahar, found that males under the age of 24, from the Klang Valley, Ipoh or Penang, were the most susceptible to Internet addiction in Malaysia.
“Most spend time on online games and browsing social media and there is enough evidence to show links to anxiety, depression, physical health problems, school disconnection, unemployment, decreased job productivity and social isolation,” she said.
Studies have also found frequent use of the Internet could translate to low self-esteem, depression, boredom and attention-deficit hyperactive disorder.
“There is no denying that Internet eases our life but when it affects your mental health capacity and interferes with your day-to-day work, then you need help,” she added.
In the case of the young boy, Dr Norharlina said he became irritable and angry when he was cut off from the digital world by his parents as part of the treatment.
“This is becoming a bigger problem now,” she said.
The commercialization of rocket launches will boost the industry by bringing space tourism income and attracting private investment, experts said.
ChinaRocket Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the country's largest developer of ballistic missiles and carrier rockets, was established on Wednesday, marking the commercialization of China's space industry, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
"Chinese commercial space enterprises are lagging behind the global market due to lack of complete production chain in the commercial space industry and experience in commercial space activities like space tourism," Li Hong, president of the academy, said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"Commercializing rocket launches will help develop the industry as many private companies will be interested in the sector," Jiao Weixin, a professor at the School of Earth and Space Science of Peking University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Jiao said the establishment of the company signals that State-controlled space industry is stepping into ordinary people's daily life.
Han Qingping, president of ChinaRocket, said at the press conference that the company would focus on keeping the cost 30 percent lower than an average launch through the "standardization of the interface between satellite and rocket as well as advance preparation."
rightwaysChina will launch three astronauts, including a woman on SaturdayChina achieves double record-breaker: Sky-high and abyss-deep sea!China manned space docking successful! Watch live now
After weeks of investigation, state executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi is finally brought to court to face 33 counts of graft. The land and housing scandal - one of Johor’s biggest corruption cases - is however set to widen as graft busters warn of more suspects to be charged soon.
MACC expected to haul up more people in land and housing scandal
JOHOR BARU: One of the state’s largest corruption scandals is about to get bigger as more people are expected to be hauled up to court in the coming weeks.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said they might be charged with the case involving Johor executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi either this month or next.
Among those to be charged, he said, were those who had been arrested previously.
However, he declined to reveal their names so as not to jeopardise MACC’s investigation, saying that no VIPs were involved.
“We are in the midst of completing our probe with the Deputy Public Prosecutor before charging them in court soon,” he told reporters after meeting MACC investigation director Datuk Simi Abd Ghani and Johor MACC director Datuk Azmi Alias here yesterday.
Azam said it was also possible for Abd Latif, who was jointly accused with property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud of committing 33 counts of graft yesterday, to face another round of charges then.
It was reported that eight suspects, including Abd Latiff ’s eldest son as well as his special officer, were nabbed by the MACC on Feb 24.
Anti-graft officers detained them after sifting through stacks of documents seized from the state government and developers.
They also seized luxury goods, including 21 cars such as Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, five high-powered motorcycles and 150 handbags.
On its probe into the purchase of real estate in Australia by Mara Incorporated Sdn Bhd, Azam said MACC called up 24 witnesses and visited seven premises, including a law firm, the offices of both Mara Inc and an appraiser, and their associates.
“All related documents have also been seized. We have gathered more new information, and it is a continuous investigation from the previous case in 2015,” he said.
“We need more time to complete this case as it involves another country.
“We have put in a request under a mutual legal assistance with the Australian AttorneyGeneral’s office but have yet to receive any response.
“We will also prepare the documents to be sent to Australia,” he said.
MACC had previously recorded the state- ment of suspended Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa over the same investigation.
Annuar also handed over several documents relevant to the case.
The issue came to light after Australian newspaper The Age claimed that several senior Mara officials and a former politician had spent millions of Malaysian Government funds to buy an apartment block, known as Dudley International House, in Melbourne
Azam said his officers were also in the midst of preparing a report into alleged match fixing by football players from the Malaysian Indian Sports Council-Malaysia Indian Football Association.
“We expect this case to be completed within two to three weeks after we hand over the report to the deputy public prosecutor for charging.
CALL them pyramid, Ponzi or get-rich-quick schemes and people might shy away. But call them money games, and suddenly they are just games, is that right?
What can be so diabolical about that?
Penang lang (people) are very much into money games. That's what Ben, a Penangite who now lives in Australia, found out when he came back for a holiday three weeks ago.
Ben’s friends and relatives tried to rope him into money games. They themselves had "invested" in a few "games".
He was astounded by their obsession. It does seem as if money games are on the minds of many Penangites now.
I hear about them at the coffee shops and watering holes. And yes, many of my buddies are into them too.
You will likely be the odd one out if you are not into such schemes these days.
JJPTR is a now household acronym after almost two years in the market. It stands for JJ Poor-to-Rich and the very name resonated well with middle-class families.
Its 20% monthly payouts were always on time, until the recent hacking job.
Then came Richway Global Venture, Change Your Life (CYL) and BTC I-system, but they too are said to be in troubled waters these days.
Attempts by many journalists to contact them have been unsuccessful.
The money game list is quite long, and Penang has the dubious honour of being the home base for many.
Another friend, Robert, had a jolt when a doctor he knew told patients to put their money into such a scheme. A doctor!
From the cleaners at his office to the hawkers and professionals he met, everyone, it seems, was convinced. None questioned how the high returns could come to fruition in such a short time.
But Robert is a harsh critic of these games and would not go anywhere near them. He didn't believe in their economic "principles".
He even got into a big fight with his father, who put money into JJPTR.
And now, Robert has been proven right. Fortunately, his father was one of the lucky ones because he managed to recoup his principal sum, on top of the thousands more he had received over the past few months.
Billy, a man well-versed in such operations, said operators would always use forex trading or investment in foreign projects as cover stories to woo new members.
They paint vivid pictures of those joining becoming part of big-time developments in Third World countries like Cambodia and Vietnam.
Once you get closer to them, they will tell you outright it is a money game and that you are among the pioneers, sure to make a profit before the scheme bursts.
Things tend to be smooth sailing for the first few months. You see money coming back in and pride yourself in taking the risk.
But soon the saturation point is reached as new members to the pyramid slow to a trickle.
Then you can expect the scheme to collapse.
Billy pointed out that the higher the return on investment, the faster the scheme bursts.
That's because the operator cannot get enough new members to keep the scheme sustainable. At the same time, he has to deal with huge monthly payouts.
Some in Penang may remember the chance to invest in a cafe chain known as Island Red Cafe around 10 years ago. Then there was that company that sold gold bars and coins. There was also a Swiss cash scheme which took the country by storm.
As long as there is greed, such schemes will always re-emerge. As they say, a fool and his money are soon parted.
Honestly, the quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
Get-rich quick schemes drawing the interest of those who want to make a quick buck but really, there is no substitute in getting paid for honest, hard work
AS a Penangite, I am always asked by my colleagues and friends in the Klang Valley why is it that most get-rich-quick schemes are located in the island state and the investors mostly its citizens.
I have asked that same question myself, since I’ve heard enough stories of relatives and friends who have been entangled in this web of financial crookery.
It’s not something new. It used to be called the pyramid scheme and Ponzi but, like most, it is just another scam. The new term is ‘money game’ and it’s probably called this to warn new participants that there will be winners and losers, like in any other game.
However, no one is listening because most people are merely interested in the quick returns from their investments.
There are some reasons why Penang lang (Hokkein for people) have warmed up to these quick-rich con jobs.
Penang is a predominantly Chinese state and rightly or wrongly, the appetite for risk there is higher. Some may dismiss risk as a euphemism for gambling, but the bottom line is, many of its denizens are prepared to roll the dice.
Given that there are so few police reports lodged against operators, despite the huge number of investors, indicates the readiness of these players to try their luck.
They clearly are aware of the element of risk involved when they lay their money down, but the huge returns override any rational thinking. No risk, no gain, they probably tell themselves.
Making police reports against operators also runs the risk of “investors” getting their money stuck if the accounts of the scammers are frozen.
Risk-taking is nothing new to many Penangites. This is a state with a horse-racing course and plenty of gaming outlets. Is it any surprise then that a spat is currently playing out between politicians over allegations that illegal gaming outlets are thriving there?
One politician believes the state government does not have the authority to issue gambling licences and “to single out Penang also ignores the fact that gambling is under the Federal Government’s jurisdiction. We don’t issue such licences.”
It’s bizarre because no one issues permits to illegal gaming outlets. That’s why they are called illegal.
But there are some fundamental sociological explanations to this fixation on earning extra money in the northern state.
The cost of living has gone up there ... and everywhere, too. For the urban middle class, it is a monthly struggle managing the wages – after the deductions – settling the housing and car loans, and accounting for household items such as food, petrol, utility and tuition for the children.
The cost of living in Penang may be lower than that in the Klang Valley, but it is not cheap either. Any local will tell you that the portion of char koay teow has shrunk, although the price remains the same.
But unlike the Klang Valley, where career development and opportunities are greater, the same cannot be said of the island state.
Many of us who were born and brought up in Penang, moved to Kuala Lumpur because we were aware of the shortage of employment opportunities there.
We readily sacrificed so much, moving away from our parents and friends, relinquishing the relaxed way of life and the good food for a “harder” life in the Klang Valley. We paid the price for wanting a better life.
Job advancement means better salaries, but in Penang, where employers have a smaller base, they are unable to match the kind of pay packages offered in KL.
So, an extra few hundred ringgit from such investments does make a lot of difference to the average wage earner.
It is not unusual for many in the federal capital to take a second job to ensure they can balance their finances.
I don’t think many Penangites expect to be millionaires, at least not that quickly, although JJPTR has become a household acronym since hitting the market in the last two years. As most Malaysians by now know, it stands for JJ Poor-to-Rich, the name resonating well with middle class families.
Its founder, Johnson Lee, with his squeaky clean, boyish looks, assured over 400,000 people of his 20% monthly pay-outs and even more incredibly, convinced many that billions of ringgit vanished due to a hacking job.
Then came Richway Global Venture, Change Your Life (CYL) and BTC I-system, among others. And almost like clockwork, Penang has now earned the dubious reputation of being the base for get-rich-quick schemes.
Having written this article while in Penang, I found out this issue continues to be the hottest topic in town, despite the recent crackdowns by the authorities.
My colleague Tan Sin Chow recently reported in the northern edition of The Star that “money games are on the minds of many Penangites.”
On chat groups with friends and former schoolmates, it has certainly remained very much alive.
Tan wrote: “Another friend, Robert, had a jolt when, a doctor he knew, told patients to put their money into such a scheme. A doctor!
“From the cleaners at his office to the hawkers and professionals he met, everyone, it seems, was convinced. None questioned how the high returns could come to fruition in such a short time.”
Under the Galvin family, Motorola had soaring achievements. This was the
company, remember, that invented the cellphone. Those days are over.
What went wrong?
Chinese-born talents are abandoning California for riches back home with the rise of China's new titans.
A FEW years ago, Wang Yi was living the American dream. He had graduated from Princeton, landed a job at Google and bought a spacious condo in Silicon Valley.
But one day in 2011, he sat his wife down at the kitchen table and told her he wanted to move back to China. He was bored working as a product manager for the search giant and felt the pull of starting his own company in their homeland.
It wasn’t easy persuading her to abandon balmy California for smog-choked Shanghai.
“We’d just discovered she was pregnant,” said Wang, now 37, recalling hours spent pacing their apartment. “It was a very uneasy few weeks before we made our decision, but in the end she came around.”
His bet paid off: his popular English teaching app Liulishuo or LingoChamp raised US$100mil (RM397mil) in July, putting him in the growing ranks of successful Silicon Valley alumni lured back to China by the promise of a brighter future. His decision is emblematic of an unprecedented trend with disquieting implications for Valley stalwarts from Facebook Inc to Alphabet Inc’s Google.
US-trained Chinese-born talent is becoming a key force in driving Chinese companies’ global expansion and the country’s efforts to dominate next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Where college graduates once coveted a prestigious overseas job and foreign citizenship, many today gravitate towards career opportunities at home, where venture capital is now plentiful and the government dangles financial incentives for cutting-edge research.
“More and more talent is moving over because China is really getting momentum in the innovation area,” said Ken Qi, a headhunter for Spencer Stuart and leader of its technology practice.
“This is only the beginning.” Chinese have worked or studied abroad and then returned home long enough that there’s a term for them – “sea turtles”. But while a job at a US tech giant once conferred near-unparalleled status, homegrown companies – from giants like Tencent Holdings Ltd to up-and-comers like news giant Toutiao – are now often just as prestigious. Baidu Inc – a search giant little-known outside of China – convinced ex-Microsoft standout Qi Lu to helm its efforts in AI, making him one of the highest-profile returnees of recent years.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s coming-out party was a catalyst. The e-commerce giant pulled off the world’s largest initial public offering in 2014 – a record that stands – to drive home the scale and inventiveness of the country’s corporations.
Alibaba and Tencent now count among the 10 most valuable companies in the world, in the ranks of Amazon.com Inc and Facebook.
Chinese venture capital rivals the United States: three of the world’s five most valuable startups are based in Beijing, not California.
Tech has supplanted finance as the biggest draw for overseas Chinese returnees, accounting for 15.5% of all who go home, according to a 2017 survey of 1,821 people conducted by think-tank Centre for China & Globalisation and jobs site Zhaopin.com. That’s up 10% from their last poll, in 2015.
Not all choose to abandon the Valley. Of the more than 850,000 AI engineers across America, 7.9% are Chinese, according to a 2017 report from LinkedIn.
That naturally includes plenty of ethnic Chinese without strong ties to the mainland or any interest in working there. However, there are more AI engineers of Chinese descent in the United States than there are in China, even though they make up less than 1.6% of the American population.
Yet the search for returnees has spurred a thriving cottage industry.
In WeChat and Facebook cliques, headhunters and engineers from the diaspora exchange banter and animated gifs.
Qi watches for certain markers: if you’ve scored permanent residency, are childless or the kids are prepping for college, expect a knock on your digital door.
Jay Wu has poached over 100 engineers for Chinese companies over the past three years. The co-founder of Global Career Path ran online communities for students before turning it into a career. The San Francisco resident now trawls more than a dozen WeChat groups for leads.
“WeChat is a good channel to keep tabs on what’s going on in the circle and also broadcast our offline events,” he said.
Ditching Cupertino or Mountain View for Beijing can be a tough sell when China’s undergoing its harshest Internet crackdown in history. But its tech giants hold three drawcards: faster growth in salaries, opportunity and a sense of home.
China’s Internet space is enjoying bubbly times, with compensation sometimes exceeding American peers’. One startup was said to have hired an AI engineer for cash and shares worth as much as US$30mil (RM119mil) over four years.
For engineers reluctant to relinquish American comforts, Chinese companies are going to them. Alibaba, Tencent, Uber-slayer Didi Chuxing and Baidu are among those who have built or are expanding labs in Silicon Valley.
Career opportunities, however, are regarded as more abundant back home. While Chinese engineers are well represented in the Valley, the perception is that comparatively fewer advance to the top rungs, a phenomenon labelled the “Bamboo Ceiling”.
“More and more Chinese engineers who have worked in Silicon Valley for an extended period of time end up finding it’s much more lucrative for them career-wise to join a fast-rising Chinese company,”
says Hans Tung, a managing partner at venture firm GGV who’s organised events to poach talent.
The recent attacks against multi-billionaire Robert Kuok, including those from Umno leaders and a prominent blogger, are regrettable, says MCA.
Party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said it was a well-accepted fact that Kuok is a successful international entrepreneur.
“Kuok has made tremendous contributions to the country. These comments are made to spread hatred and create disunity,” he said.
Ong said Culture and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has no right to request any Malaysian citizen to give up their citizenship.
“This is not within his jurisdiction,” he said.
Last week, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin posted three articles in his website Malaysia Today, alleging Kuok was funding various political parties to overthrow the Government.
In response, Kuok refuted allegations and that he would reserve the right to take action against the portal.
MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker concurred with Ong, saying there was no need to resort to harsh remarks against the 94-year-old tycoon.
“MCA is of the view that Kuok is a businessman who has benefited Malaysians in general.
“He is our business icon and revered by Malaysians from all ethnic backgrounds,”he said.
Ti said Kuok has every right to support whichever political party and that there were existing laws to deal with any attempts to undermine the Government.
“As a businessman, he could have supported many political parties and politicians from Barisan and Pakatan too. There’s no need to overreact by being ill-mannered in this instance,” he said.
But Ti pointed out that all businessmen who have benefited from Barisan’s policies should be thankful and reciprocate with support.
Two prominent Johor Barisan leaders – Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad and Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong – came out to defend Kuok, saying they believed the tycoon would not interfere in national politics.
Dr Wee dismissed Raja Petra’s claims as “unreliable”.
“What was said on his blog was just a spin. There is no evidence. It is not persuasive,” said the MCA deputy president and Ayer Hitam MP.
rightwaysKuok: I’ll always be a true Malaysianicon videoRobert Kuok to take action against false reportsHot belt of political sentimentsTi to Nazri: Don’t drag Robert Kuok into politics
“The series of comments made on Chinese investments by the PM have affected the confidence of Chinese investors. Those who originally wanted to come are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, while those already in are careful about their expansion plans,” says Li in an interview with Sunday Star.
The outspoken leader of Chinese firms notes that businessmen from the mainland are “worried”, although some comments of the Prime Minister were later “clarified” by other Cabinet Ministers or the PM’s Office.
“Malaysia must remember that by targeting Chinese investors in an unreasonable way, this will scare away not only FDI from China, but also from other countries as well,” adds Li.
Since his five-day official visit to China that ended on Aug 21, the 93-year-old Malaysian leader has caused anxiety to all by making shocking announcements.
While summing up his China trip on Aug 21, he declared he would cancel the RM55bil East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and two gas pipelines being built by Chinese firms.
As the ECRL is of strategic importance to China’s Belt and Road Initiative – the policy which Dr Mahathir has repeatedly voiced his support for, Beijing would expect a renegotiation of the contract terms rather than an outright cancellation.
Dr Mahathir had reasoned that with national debt of over RM1 trillion, Malaysia could not afford these projects. In addition, these contracts are tainted with unfair terms and smacked of high corruption.
Although the Prime Minister said Chinese leaders understood Malaysia’s situation, reactions of Chinese nationals on social media were unforgiving with many suspecting Dr Mahathir “has other motives”.
Many see Dr Mahathir as attempting to raise Malaysia’s bargaining power in the negotiation for compensation for the cancelled projects. China, according to social media talk, is asking for RMB50bil as compensation.
On social media, there are also suggestions that Dr Mahathir is aiming at his predecessor as most China-linked projects were launched during the rule of Najib.
During the rule of Najib, Malaysia-China relations were intimate.
This has resulted in the influx of major construction and property companies from the mainland, followed by banks and industries.
But on May 9, Dr Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan coalition toppled the Barisan Nasional government of Najib after the most bitterly fought general election in local history.
The second-time premier has put the blame on Najib for the massive 1MDB financial scandal, which Najib has denied, and mismanagement of the country’s finance.
And while the Chinese nationals are all riled up by the cancellation of ECRL, Dr Mahathir came up with an ill-advised statement.
Last week he ordered a wall surrounding Alliance Steel, which is investing US$1.4bil (RM6bil) for a massive steel complex, to be demolished. This was seen as unreasonably targeting a genuine FDI.
Although the foreign ministry later clarified that the leader had mistaken the wall to be built around the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), the anger of Chinese nationals lingers on.
The industrial park is a G-to-G project to jointly promote bilateral investments. There is an even bigger sister industrial park in China that houses many Malaysian firms. All these were built during Najib’s reign.
Dr Mahathir’s statement has also caught the attention of China’s Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China.
In an editorial on Aug 28, the news portal warned: “Many words of Kuala Lumpur can spread to China via the Internet, causing different reactions. How the Chinese public sees China-Malaysia cooperation is by no means inconsequential to Malaysia’s interests.”
It noted “while Dr Mahathir advocates pursuing a policy of expanding friendly cooperation with China ... but when it comes to specific China-funded projects, his remarks gave rise to confusion. Like this time, it is startling to equate the controversy surrounding a factory wall with state sovereignty.”
Global Times added: “When such remarks are heard by Chinese people, the latter find it piercing. They will definitely make Chinese investors worry about Malaysian public opinion and whether such an atmosphere will affect investment in the country.”
In fact, it would be unwise for the government to disrupt MCKIP. Co-owned by Chinese, IJM Corporation and Pahang government, this industrial park has lured in Chinese FDI of over RM20bil.
It is an important economic driver in the East Coast and has aimed to create 19,000 jobs by 2020.
While the “wall” statement might be seen as a minor mistake, Dr Mahathir’s flawed announcement last Monday that foreigners would be barred from buying residential units in the US$100bil (RM410bil) Forest City stirred another uproar.
On Aug 27, Reuters quoted Dr Mahathir as saying: “That city that is going to be built cannot be sold to foreigners. Our objection is because it was built for foreigners, not built for Malaysians. Most Malaysians are unable to buy those flats.”
Currently being developed by Country Garden Holdings of China, this 20-year long project, built on reclaimed land in Johor Bahru, aims to house 700,000 people. As about 70% of the house buyers are Chinese, some locals fear this could turn into a China town.
Unlike Alliance Steel that has stayed silent, Country Garden fought back by seeking clarifications from the PM’s Office.
In a statement, the major Chinese developer said all its property transactions had complied with Malaysian laws.
Citing Section 433B of the National Land Code, it added a foreign citizen or a foreign company may acquire land in Malaysia subject to the prior approval of the State Authority.
In addition, it said Dr Mahathir’s comment did not correspond with the content of the meeting he had with Country Garden founder and chairman Yeung Kwok Keung on Aug 16.
During the meeting, Dr Mahathir said he welcomed foreign investments which could create job opportunities, promote technology transfer and innovations.
In fact, this forest city project – along with ECRL – were the main targets of attack by Dr Mahathir before the May 9 election.
Opposition to these projects had helped drive Dr Mahathir’s election campaign, during which he said was evidence of Najib selling Malaysia’s sovereignty to China.
These projects, together with major construction contracts won by Chinese and the inflow of industrial investments, place the total value of Chinese deals at more than RM600bil in Malaysia.
But few would expect Dr Mahathir to use his powerful position to resume his attacks on China-linked projects so soon after his so-called “fruitful visit” to Beijing.
During his official visit to Beijing, the Malaysian leader was accorded the highest honour by China, due mainly to respect for “China’s old friend” and strong Malaysia-China relations built since 1975.
Dr Mahathir was chauffeured in Hongqi L5 limousine, reserved for the most honourable leaders, and greeted in an official welcome ceremony by Premier Li Keqiang. He was also guest of honour at a banquet at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse hosted by President Xi Jinping.
But beneath these glamorous receptions, there were reservations exuded by the Chinese for this leader whose premiership is scheduled to end in two years.
There were no exciting business deals signed in Beijing. There was absence of high diplomatic rhetoric that “Malaysia-China ties have been elevated to another historic high”, oft-repeated during Najib’s past visits.
Many even notice that Premier Li and Dr Mahathir had a cool handshake after their short joint press conference in Beijing.
And although China promised to buy Malaysian palm oil, the statement was qualified with “price sensitivity”, which means it will not buy above market price.
In addition, there was no mention of “buying palm oil without upper limit”, which was promised to Najib last year.
If Dr Mahathir’s original intention was to target Forest City and its owners, his move has certainly backfired. The country will have to pay a price for his off-the-cuff statement.
The “new policy” will have serious ramifications as it would hit the value of the properties not only in Forest City but also in other China-linked and non-Chinese projects.
Country Garden’s Danga Bay project will also be hit. It now faces a more daunting task of selling the balance of about 2,000 units in Danga Bay, according to a Starbiz report.
Other Chinese developers like R&F Princess Cove and Greenland Group will be affected.
VPC Alliance Malaysia managing director James Wong told Starbiz there may be legal suits against the government.
“That may force Country Garden to scale down because it has invested a lot with its industrial building systems factory and an international school, among other investments. It will impact Country Garden and Malaysia’s property sector negatively,” Wong said.
“Foreign buyers and other foreign companies will shy away,” Wong added.
Unemployment and jobs growth in South Korea haven’t looked so bad since the wake of the global financial crisis, undermining President Moon Jae-in’s economic agenda.
Data released Wednesday show the unemployment rate jumping to 4.2 percent, the highest since early 2010, and much greater than any economists forecast. Jobs growth slumped to just 3,000 last month, also the worst figure in more than eight years.
Moon, who came into office pledging to create jobs and raise incomes for regular workers, has seen his popularity slide amid criticism that he’s hurting employment by aggressively increasing the minimum wage.
While pay hikes planned for this year and 2019 are here to stay, Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said the government would consider adjusting some policies.
He conceded that the jobs market wouldn’t improve much anytime soon.
Disappearing Jobs Growth
Number of jobs added: South Korea added just 3,000 jobs in August, the least since 2010
Source: Statistics Korea
Moon’s administration points to the fallout from corporate restructuring and the shrinking working-age population as the source of the problems in the labour market. Businesses counter that hiking the minimum wage 16% this year, with another bump of almost 11% to come next year, has made job layoffs inevitable.
Small business owners in particular, from convenience stores to fast-food franchises, have shed workers.
Adding to the economic unease in South Korea is the risk that US President Donald Trump may hit car exporters with auto tariffs, even after Seoul agreed to renegotiate its trade deal with the US.
South Korea's unemployment rate in August reached the highest since 2010
Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate
Source: Statistics Korea
South Korean bonds climbed and the won fell after jobs figures, which appeared to squash any near-term prospect of the central bank raising interest rates.
The finance minister said economic policies that are geared toward wage-based growth are moving in the “right direction”. Yet the government also acknowledged the need for more communication and market analysis in order to gain trust from companies and the people, he said.
The presidential office described the recent increase in unemployment as inevitable pain that accompanies a change in the structure of the economy, Yonhap News reported.
Like many other countries, South Korea is experiencing a widening gap between the rich and the poor. It’s confounding policy makers and exacerbating political divisions.
Vincent Tan denies investing US$250m in get-rich-quick 'Formula'
PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Corp Bhd founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun (<<pic) has denied investing US$250 million in a project known as "The Formula" which allegedly promises huge profits and quick riches.
Tan said in a statement today said that the 'The Formula' is supposedly a share trading platform that allows trades executed through it to beat the stock market with an accuracy of 80% thereby allowing users to make huge profits.
"I refer to a current online media entitled 'Vincent Tan gives back to the people with his latest project" wherein it is reported that I have invested US$250 million in a project known as "The Formula" with a wish to make Malaysians wealthy.
"I would like to categorically deny that I have made an investment in this project or that I am in any way involved in it and there is absolutely no truth in this report which I believe has been put out by unscrupulous persons to deceive the public," Tan said.
Tan has reported the matter to the relevant authorities so that appropriate action can be taken and urged the public to take caution on promises of quick riches and not to fall prey to scams.
Tan said this is not the first time his name has been used in similar instances for the purpose of lending credibility to online investment scams.
On June 28 (see below), Tan exposed a dubious startup trading platform called "Bitcoin Formula" which used his name and doctored photos to promote its business.
An article claiming he had invested in and was promoting Bitcoin Formula, together with some photographs, was circulated on social media.
The article was accompanied by a few photographs, one showing Tan allegedly awarding a cheque for RM500,000 to Bitcoin Formula for winning the "Project of the Year" prize in a computer engineering "hackathon" in Kuala Lumpur, and another picture of him apparently speaking about Bitcoin Formula at a social media business summit.
Both pictures were in fact images altered with the use of photo-editing software and had originally been taken by theSun in March 2014 and January last year.
A check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia found that no company by the name of Bitcoin Formula exists.
rightwaysbitcoin-formula-accessBitcoin Formula is a stolen scam systemBitcoin Formula uses fake testimonials and fabricated results
The new AI anchors, launched by Xinhua and Beijing-based search engine operator Sogou during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, can deliver the news with “the same effect” as human anchors because the machine learning programme is able to synthesise realistic-looking speech, lip movements and facial expressions, according to a Xinhua news report on Wednesday.
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“AI anchors have officially become members of the Xinhua News Agency reporting team. They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in both Chinese and English,” Xinhua said.
The AI anchors are now available throughout Xinhua’s internet and mobile platforms such as its official Chinese and English apps, WeChat public account, and online TV webpage.
The world's first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor made "his" debut at the ongoing fifth World Internet Conference in east China's Zhejiang Province.
The news anchor, based on the latest AI technology, has a male image with a voice, facial expressions and actions of a real person. "He" learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor.
The AI news anchor was jointly developed by Xinhua News Agency, the official state-run media outlet of China, and Chinese search engine company Sogou.com.
According to Xinhua, "he" has become a member of its reporting team and can work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency.
Celebrity anchors are regarded as important assets at major news networks in the US. The highest paid news anchor, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, is reportedly paid US$100 million a year, while Diane Sawyer at ABC and Sean Hannity at Fox News earn US$80 million each. Celebrity anchors in China are generally paid a lot less because they work for state-run TV stations but they often earn extra money from product endorsements and book sales.
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But AI anchors may one day challenge the human variety because of their ability to work 24 hours a day provided human editors keep inputting text into the system.
Xinhua said the achievement was a “breakthrough in the field of global AI synthesis”, pioneering the synthesis of real-time audio and video with AI-created anchors in the news field. Search engine Sogou, which also does research and development in AI, is providing the underlying technology for the project.
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rightwaysA news presenter rehearses in the CNC TV studio of Xinhua News Agency. Photo: on 8 September, 2010, Beijing, China. Photo: SCMP