Friday, October 31, 2008

Fuel down another 15 sen

The government of Malaysia will slash pump prices by another 15 sen from midnight spurred by falling global crude oil prices. The cut is the fourth such reduction since prices were raised last June when world crude prices jumped to US$140 a barrel.

From midnight, pump prices of petrol RON97 would be lowered by 15 sen to RM2.15 per litre. RON92 will be reduced from RM2.20 to RM2.05 per litre and diesel will also be lowered by 15 sen to RM2.05 per litre as well.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the reduction, the fourth since August, was made following the drastic drop in global fuel prices.

Oil prices slipped below $65 a barrel in Asia Friday, extending declines after data showed the U.S. economy contracted in the latest quarter, reinforcing expectations of a prolonged slump in demand.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery was down $1.44 to $64.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midmorning in Singapore.

The contract overnight fell $1.54 to settle at $65.96. Oil prices have fallen about 55 percent since peaking above $147 a barrel in mid-July.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If China give money to IMF, it should get more rights

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said developing countries should get a bigger voice in international financial institutions and the ability to set rules, though he did not specify which institutions.

His comments come as the US hopes China will play an important role in international financial talks at a summit in Washington next month.

"The right of emerging and developing countries to know what's going on have a voice and the right to set rules should be improved," he said, according to a transcript on the Foreign Ministry's website.

Wen called for the establishment of a new international financial order because of the financial crisis, and called for the establishment of a multi-currency international monetary system, saying other currencies should be promoted.

If China doles out money as part of any kind of international rescue fund, it should get more influence in bodies such at the International Monetary Fund, said Zuo Xiaolei, chief economist with China Galaxy Securities Company.

The majority of China’s foreign currency reserves are invested in US Treasury securities, which is also lending support to the US economy.

"They think China is rich by only looking at the US$1.9 trillion foreign exchange reserves. But China also has to pay external debts and keep the stability of its own financial safety," she said.

"Let's assume, if China does give money to the IMF, of course China should ask for more rights," she said.

Raja Nazrin Shah: Do not discriminate against any segment of society

Perak Raja Muda Raja Nazrin Shah said governments can no longer afford to formulate policies, laws and regulations on a discriminatory basis and in an ethical vacuum.

Raja Nazrin Shah

“No segment of society must be disrespected, discredited and disenfranchised. No group should feel that their efforts and contributions go unrecognized and unwanted.

“We must abandon the ‘silo’ mentality where we only look up at what is happening and not beside us at what others are experiencing,” Raja Nazrin said’

“Only inclusive development through empowerment can societies become strong and we can achieve lasting outcomes,”

He said that not empowering citizens could lead to “a deep sense of alienation and hostility” that could cause “rash acts of violence that fracture societies. This is bad and insensitive politics."

“We cannot morally turn our backs on the fundamental responsibility of ensuring that all stakeholders in our society, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, have a place under the sun.”

“But closing two eyes to the problem does not help build the unity and integration required to face the economic and social turmoil that is likely to result.

“Empowerment is a precondition for an integrated and progressive Asia. Interestingly enough, the forces that can connect Asia also have the potential to empower its people.”

Shabery : Media still needs a governing body to ensure responsible reporting

Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said though he would welcome less regulations pertaining to the media, the media still needed a governing body to ensure responsible reporting and added that akin to the Bar Council, the media council would be the perfect vehicle.

The National Media Council (NMC), which is still in the pipeline, will be a good neutral third party to regulate the media and protect the public from slanderous and irresponsible reporting, he said.

Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek

“It will be able to guide the media to adhere to media ethics. Now, people say that if the media were to say not to talk of racial issues, it is the directive of the government. Now, let the media regulate themselves,” Ahmad Shabery said.

He said that despite the country being perceived as lacking freedom of speech and overall press freedom, Malaysia did not practice “cheque book” or “envelope journalism”.

“There are developing countries which have a free press but on the Transparency International list these countries have a high rate of corruption.

The media, which should check the government from engaging in corruption, also practices corruption.

“People, who want popularity, give envelopes (containing money) to journalists and editors for more media coverage. In this context, the government becomes more corrupt because the media is also corrupt, this trend was currently unheard of in Malaysia.” he said.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Iceland's interest rate increase from 12% to 18%

Iceland's central bank raised interest rates by 6% to 18% today as a part of a loan agreement imposed by the IMF to battles against financial collapse.

The central bank governor said the increase was part of its agreement with the International Monetary Fund, from which it borrowed $2bn (£1.3bn).

The move was designed to restore trust in Iceland's battered currency. After the announcement, the Icelandic krona traded internationally for the first time in a week.

The rate rise means that investors get a much higher return for putting money back into the Iceland's crippled financial system.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Global stocks took another heavy beating

Stock around the world took another heavy beating Monday, with shares in Japan falling to their lowest level in 26 years, as fears of a global recession continued to sweep markets.

US futures, which offer an indication o
f how Wall Street may open when trading begins in New York, was sharply lower.

European shares tumbled and Britain's FTSE 100 down 3.7%. The CAC-40 in Paris was down 5.6% and Germany's DAX fell 3.3% Hong Kong shares plunge 13% as fears of global recession sweep markets. Nikkei closes at 26-year low.

Tokyo shares were hit hard as the yen fluctuated near a record high against the dollar. A rising yen makes Japanese exports relatively more expensive.

The yen's appreciation spurred financial ministers and central bank presidents of the world's seven leading industrialized nations to issue a statement Monday expressing their worries about the situation.

"We are concerned about the recent excessive volatility in the exchange rate of the yen and its possible adverse implications for economic and financial stability," the Group of Seven said in a statement.

Elsewhere in Asia, the KOSPI in Seoul, South Korea, was the lone bright spot, closing up nearly 1%.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

China immunes to the toxicity of global financial crisis

Although global financial crisis has devastating effects on vast numbers of people, but many expatriates in China are finding they are largely immune to its toxicity and stabilizing an unstable global economy.

The fundamentals of the Chinese economy remain sound and can cope with the challenges caused by the worsening global financial crisis, nevertheless it should not underestimate the impact (of the crisis) on China's economy, Central Bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan told legislators Sunday.

He Said, despite the impact of the global financial crisis, China should recognize overall economic condition is good and financial institutions are generally strong, with increased profit-making and risk-fending abilities. Market liquidity on the whole is ample and the financial system is sound and safe.

Continuing urbanization and industrialization, which generate huge investment demand, as well as the large domestic market and low-cost labor, the basic economic growth track, will not deviate much, he said.

Lin Yifu, senior vice-president and chief economist of the World Bank said, the impact of the global financial crisis on China would be "limited". In the era of globalization, no place is safe but China's economic condition is one of the best compared with others, he said.

Economists said, China's GDP growth slipped to 9 percent in the third quarter from 10.1 percent. As the global economy is expected to slowdown, China's growth may weaken further, although it may avoid a hard landing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Umno Youth chief to always be political presentable and incredibly open with everyone

The race for the party top post in Umno Youth seems to be between Mukhriz Mahathir and Khairy Jamaluddin. But the irony is the Mukhriz-Khairy fight is claimed to be the a proxy battle as the latter’s father in law and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is at odds over Mahathir’s negative political attack.

Mukhriz Mahathir

Ironically, it is not the proxy fight between Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Mahathir, but rather as the battle of the new vision of the leadership of the Umno Youth chief which is political presentable and incredibly open with everyone.

Although Khairy Jamaluddin has finally qualified after obtained the 39th nomination necessary from the Tangga Batu division but he still trails Mukhriz Mahathir in the number of nominations received so far.

Khairy Jamaluddin

In qualifying, Khairy, the son-in-law of Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, thus creating the political scenario that the proxy battle between Mukhriz, the son of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for the future party presidency post and influence in the party.
Seen earlier as an overwhelming favorite, Khairy appears now to be fighting an uphill battle against Mukhriz, who has emerged as a favorite because of his father's re-emergence in Umno.

Khairy was the initial favorite to win but Mukhriz became the first to qualify just two weeks after the 191 Umno Youth divisions began meeting earlier this month. Mukhriz, however still leads with 64 nominations.

More than anything, this perhaps exhibit to what regarded as the qualities that a Umno politician should always have on display. It seems increasingly to what the Umno Youth want their politicians to always be political presentable and at the same time to be incredibly open with everyone.

Although the candidates can deliver the speeches brilliantly, overt to empathize, performance seems like brain-shatteringly brilliant in addition to politics is an art of impossible, but with the current existing scenario, Mukhriz seems should be the winner.

Should he fail; in the light of this reality, it should be proven the tragedy of the abnormality of Umno Youth politics that draws theoretical interest for political analysis to conduct the cross-sectional political analysis.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Inflation rate touched 8.2 % in September

What is the impact of 8.2% high rates of inflation? The soaring price that caused higher food prices has a much bigger impact on the overall rate of inflation.

After touching a 27-year-high of 8.5 per cent in August, lower fuel prices trimmed the consumer price index (CPI) to 8.2 per cent in September compared to a year ago, the Statistics Department said today.

The CPI for the first nine months of 2008 increased by 5.2 per cent to 110.9 from 105.4 in the same period last year, Bernama reported.

The index for food and non-alcoholic beverages for September 2008 compared with the same month in 2007 showed a high percentage change of 12.3 per cent and the index for non-food increased by 6.3 per cent.

From January to September 2008, the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages and non-food registered an increased of eight per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.

Compared with the previous month, the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 0.8 per cent while the index for non-food decreased by 0.6 per cent.

The 5.2 per cent increase in the CPI was brought about by increases observed in the indices of all the main groups except those of clothing and footwear and communication which decreased by 0.6 per cent respectively.

Notable among increases were those for transport (+9.6 per cent), food and non-alcoholic beverages (+eight per cent) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (+1.5 per cent).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Karpal suspended for two days

Mind your words in Parliament otherwise you are subjected to disciplinary action.

By accusing Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia of being "not serious" and "playful", DAP chairperson Karpal Singh has been suspended for two days from Parliament.

Karpal took offence to Nazri referring to Wee Choo Keong (PKR-Wangsa Maju) as 'blind'.

"The minister has insulted the disabled people, and as I represent them, I want him to retract!" said Karpal.

The heated exchange went on until Pandikar had to interject and said the minister had done nothing wrong. Pandikar added that the word 'blind' did not refer to any disabled people.

Unconvinced, Karpal then trained his anger at the speaker, stating: "You are not serious and are being playful (about this)!"

"I have given you a warning and I have to take action under the Standing Orders. I am suspending you for two days from Parliament," said Pandikar.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monthly job losses cut across 41 states in US are sign of recession

More than 80% of states in US reported jobs disappearing in September, with Michigan suffering the highest losses, according to a government report.

Michigan lost 28,300 jobs in September and has lost 77,900 jobs in the past year. Georgia lost the second greatest number of jobs - 22,300 - down 61,100 over the past year. Louisiana shed 17,500 jobs in September, a figure not 'substantially' affected by Hurricane Ike, according to the report.

Michigan, home to the country's auto industry, has reported job losses as auto manufacturing plants close and automakers discuss mergers. Just last week, General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) announced that it would close a metal stamping plant near Grand Rapids, Mich., by the end of next year, costing about 1,340 hourly jobs.

Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported that net payrolls nationwide declined by 159,000 in September, the ninth straight month the US economy has lost jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged from the prior month at 6.1%.

Eleven states reported jobless rates higher than the national average. Rhode Island posted the highest at 8.8%, an increase from 8.5% in August. Michigan had the second highest rate, 8.7%, which fell from 8.9% the month before.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oil rises to US$75 as OPEC eyes production cut

Oil prices rose to above $75 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as investors expected OPEC to try to halt a three-month slide in prices by cutting production quotas at least 1 million barrels a day.

Light sweet crude for November delivery rose 90 cents to $75.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Singapore. The contract gained overnight $2.40 to settle at $74.25.

Prices closed as low as $69.85 a barrel last week, down 53 percent from a record $147.27 on July 11.

"It definitely looks like a cut is in the cards," said Victor Shum, an energy analyst at consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.

"A cut of at least 1 million has been priced in. A cut much larger than 1 million could move prices higher."

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which accounts for about 40 percent of global oil supply, plans to announce an output reduction at a meeting on Oct. 24 at its headquarters in Vienna, said the group's president, Chakib Khelil.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chinese GDP growth slows to 9 % in 3rd quarter

Economic growth in China, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and the biggest contributor to global growth, slipped to 9 percent in the third quarter of this year.

The slowest pace in China’s economy for more than five years, as industrial production and construction slackened because of weak exports, showing a trend of a slowdown amid the current global financial crisis.

In the third quarter, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate slowed down to 9 percent, from 10.6 percent in the first quarter, 10.1 percent for the second quarter and 10.4 percent in the first half of 2008.

China's economic growth has been on a steady decline since peaking in the second quarter of 2007. The slowing world economy pummeled by the global financial crisis and weaker demand for Chinese exports on international markets heavily weighted on the Chinese economy, according to Li Xiaochao, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics.

"However, the Chinese economy has maintained stable and relatively fast growth this year as the 9.9 percent growth rate in the first nine months was still higher than the annual average growth rate of 9.8 percent since China adopted the reform and opening policy in the late 1970s," Li said.

Malaysia not in any financial crisis

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stressed that Malaysia is not in a financial crisis and should not be talked into one.

However, Malaysia’s real economy would inevitably be negatively impacted by the current financial challenges. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2009 would be reviewed downwards from the projected 5.4% in view of the worsening global financial crisis, Najib said.

The Government would also inject RM5bil to double the size of ValueCap Sdn Bhd set up in 2003 to invest in undervalued companies. Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) guidelines would also be reviewed to attract more foreign investors especially in property and commercial sectors.

“While we are confident of the resilience of our financial sector, we are mindful that the financial turmoil in markets elsewhere will bear consequences on the real economies there as well as globally,” he said.

Najib said from the government’s perspective, managing the impact on the real economy was the top priority while it continued to ensure the integrity of the country’s financial system.

He said the global economic slowdown would have an impact on demand for discretionary consumption which formed a portion of Malaysia’s exports.

“Quite clearly, the tradable sectors of the economy will be negatively affected,” he said.

Najib said slower growth, which is beginning to be visible, would result in a slower demand for commodities as evidenced in the softening of commodity prices including crude oil prices.

“The decline in palm oil and rubber prices will affect both the bottom line of our plantation companies and smallholders’ income,” he said.

Therefore, he said, the drivers for sustained economic growth would have to come from domestic private investments and continued robust domestic consumptions.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is Dr Mahathir creating anger, hatred and disunity?

“Who is Tun Dr Mahathir who has left Umno and trying to issue orders to Umno people who should be followed?”

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lashed out at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whom he described as behaving like the party elections director who decides “the leaders in the Umno party and whom should be removed”.

He said Umno had never needed instructions from leaders who were not in the party.

“He is behaving like the director for the party elections, determining so and so should hold such a position ... this person should hold this position, which needs to be in the party, who needs to be removed. What right has he to do this?” he said at a press conference at Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

“Actually he wants to create changes, anger and hatred. Is it really wrong for people to work with me? Should those people who don’t speak and don’t make noise be considered as bad people...people who have never done good for Umno and the government?

“Who is he to make such decisions? This will create hatred among Umno members, teaching Umno members to quarrel among themselves,” he said.

“Because of the contests which normally happen especially at the top level, there will be splits. We should learn from what had happened in the past."

“Such talks will raise anger among those who are considered unacceptable, (those who) must be sidelined. I consider what Tun had done had actually led to quarrels within Umno,” he said.

“Is this the reform that we want...We have freedom, every Umno member has the freedom to contest.”

“I hear that there was an attempt by someone to ask Ali Rustam (Malacca Chief Minister), who wants to contest the deputy president’s post, to withdraw ... why ask Ali to withdraw? What is bad about Ali?

“Let him contest and let Umno people decide whether they want Ali or otherwise. It’s better for Tun not to speak at all today,” he said.

Tee Keat is new MCA president, Soi Lek makes dramatic return

Datuk Ong Tee Keat is the new MCA president and his No. 2 is former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Datuk Ong Tee Keat

Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen created history by becoming the first elected woman MCA vice-president.

The other three new vice-presidents are Datuk Kong Cho Ha, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai and Johor deputy MCA chief Tan Kok Hong.

The new MCA line-up
President :Datuk Ong Tee Keat - 1429 votes
(Datuk Chua Jui Meng - 917 votes - lost)

Deputy President : Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek – 1115 votes
(Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan – 1001 votes - lost

Datuk Donal Lim - 209 votes - lost
Lee Hack Teik - 10 votes - lost)

Vice President :
Datuk Kong Cho Ha - 1798 votes
Datuk Liow Tiong Lai - 1725 votes

Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen - 1659 votes

Tan Yi @ Tan Kok Hong - 1329 votes

Abdullah: Umno is not a bully

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said, “Umno is not a ‘bully’ party, there is no such thing as bully, we are all friends.”

Abdullah said in reply to a point raised by outgoing MCA president Ong Ka Ting in the 55th MCA General Assembly. “

If that is our way (being a bully), many component parties would have left BN by now.”

“People say Umno is a party that likes to bully. I actually have no idea how to bully people,” the BN chairman said when opening the 55th MCA General Assembly.

“This is the strategy used by the opposition to destabilize BN. The issue of Umno bullying components does not start from component parties.

“There is no such thing as bullying. Ask these people in the front,” the Umno president said referring to the MCA leaders on stage.

“If that is our way, a lot of components would have left. You think Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting or Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon want to be bullied?” he said, referring to the MCA and Gerakan presidents respectively.

“Ong is not a weak leader. He is strong and effective. Do not have the impression after he retires that he was a weak leader,” he added.

The prime minister also accused Hindraf of being a group that sought to discredit the MIC and its president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

“That is their work, to give rise to dissatisfaction with our leaders.”

Is Malaysia heading towards a recession?

The global financial meltdown and uncertainties dampen the growth of Malaysia's export sector and affected the economy.

Traditionally Malaysia's growth has been export dependent but increasingly over the years, domestic demand has been a pillar of growth.

Undeniably, when the world's biggest consumer tightens the belt, everyone feels the pressure and the economy is heading towards recession. The degree of recession is yet to be known.

Interestingly, what are recession, depression and economic collapse?

A recession is a decline in a country’s Gross Domestic Product or a negative real economic growth for two or more successive quarters in a year.


A depression is a severe or long recession and economic collapse is a devastating breakdown of an economy, essentially, a severe depression, or a hyperinflation, depending on the circumstances.

Economic Collapse

Recessions are caused by increase in interest rates, decline in consumer confidence; firms reduce output and lay-off workers, which further decreases demand, and deepening economic slowdown that have an economy-wide impact.

During a recession, there is a greatly reduced job opportunities. While there would be more people in the market looking for employment, the demand for recruiting people is far lesser.

The general trend of rising unemployment rates can cause decreasing overall output and income growth would be stalled. When incomes are reduced, purchasing and spending power decreases proportionately.

Businesses are limited in their ability to pass along any increases in expenses in the form of higher prices. In order to move goods off the shelves, businesses are more likely to reduce prices. This eventually causes deflation.

With prices drifting downward and commodities becoming more affordable, consumer spending will once again increase. The increase in consumer spending leads to an increase in production. This in turn improves corporate profits leading to increased employment and improved earnings. This is the economic cycle.

During a recession, people turn to fiscal conservatism. When the levels of unemployment increase during a recession, it causes affected homeowners to sell their home to accommodate changing job demands. As higher supply of houses on sale as compared to the low demand, an economic recession will forcefully reduce the selling prices of homes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hindraf banned for threatening the national security

Malaysia is a multi racial country, the highly sensitive issues are always forbidden from exploitation. Undeniably, the authority has no hesitation to take action including using ISA if they pose a threat to public order, the security and sovereignty of the country as well as the prevailing racial harmony.

The Malaysian Government has banned the illegal organization Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) as it poses a threat to national security.

Hindraf had actively exploited the Indian community to organize illegal assemblies and street demonstrations without permits that causing a large section of the ethnic Indians to rise up against the government and also hatred among the Malays and Indians in the country.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said in a statement that the government decided to declare Hindraf illegal after the ministry was satisfied with facts and evidence that showed Hindraf was being used for unlawful purposes and posed a threat to public order and morality.

He said the government move followed the result of monitoring and investigations by the country's Registrar of Societies (ROS) since Hindraf was formed.

"As a result of the investigations, the Home Ministry, as per its authority under sections 3 and 5 of the Societies Act 1966, has declared Hindraf unlawful and detrimental to peace, public order, security and the moral values of Malaysia."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Citigroup Posts Fourth Consecutive Loss

The financial crisis has amplified economic ailments that are now intensifying, vanishing paychecks, falling house prices and diminished spending. The bailout would not lift the economy and continued weakness was certain.

Citigroup Inc. suffered its fourth straight quarterly loss and cut another 11,000 jobs, drubbed again by the relentless downturn in housing and turmoil in the financial markets.

With $2.05 trillion in total assets now, Citigroup has officially forfeited the title of largest bank by assets, falling behind JPMorgan Chase's $2.25 trillion in total assets.

The New York-based bank announced lost $2.8 billion, or 60 cents per share, in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $2.2 billion, or 44 cents per share, a year ago. The deficit for the June-to-September period brings Citi's total losses over the past 12 months to $20.2 billion.

The shortfall for the quarter was narrower than anticipated. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 70 cents per share.

Citigroup wrote down $4.4 billion in investments, plus another $612 million from a settlement related to auction-rate securities; recorded $4.9 billion in credit losses; and took a $3.9 billion charge to boost reserves. The bank has written down the value of its investments tied to souring mortgages and other bad debt by some $51 billion since this time last year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Najib said government monitoring the current global financial crisis

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said though the crisis was expected to have an impact on the Malaysian economy, especially next year, it would not be as bad as other countries as Malaysia has made structural changes to its economy since the Asian financial crisis 10 years ago.

The government must be prepared for any eventualities in facing the current global financial crisis. “We are monitoring the situation closely so that we can act accordingly when needed,” he said.

“we are living in a truly connected and globalised world whether we desired it or not”. “Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and AIG and many others may be some distance from our shores but the truth is when they are in trouble, many parts of the world will also be in trouble,” he said.

Najib said by the same token, Malaysia needed to watch, responds and adopts new business strategies because the global business environment was changing all the time.

Are businessmen having social obligation to lower prices?

The government announced again a reduction of RM 0.15 in the price of petrol to RM 2.30 a liter and 20 sen to RM 2.20 for a liter of diesel. This is the third time the government has brought down the fuel prices since it cut subsidies in June.

Undeniably, the business-mindedness of a businessman is to profit as much as possible by exploiting the consumers. It is really impossible for them to voluntarily lower the prices of goods in line with the drop in the fuel retail prices.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the traders should voluntarily lower the prices of goods in line with the drop in the fuel retail prices without waiting for the government to act. “It is their social obligation,” the prime minister said.

Abdullah also took a swipe at some consumer associations for leaving it to the government to monitor and overcome the problem of high prices of goods without lifting a finger to help.

He gave an assurance that the government would take action against traders who quoted excessively high or unreasonable prices for their goods but said that it needed the cooperation of consumers.