Monday, December 01, 2008

PEMIKIRAN MAHATHIR MENGENAI TAMBATAN MATAWANG DI ERA KEMELESETAN EKONOMI GLOBAL

Kebelakangan ini Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad menerima kritikan negatif oleh segelintir rakyat jelata Malaysia bila beliau menyuarakan beberapa kritikan dan pandangan mengenai UMNO dan politik wang.

Bagaimanapun, pemikiran, dasar serta strategi Mahathir mengenai cara-cara menangani krisis kewangan yang melanda Malaysia pada 1997, yang baru-baru ini menerima pengiktirafan oleh sekumpulan penganalisa ekonomi di Amerika Syarikat, agak kurang mendapat perhatian kita semua.

Sebaliknya, Mahathir kini menerima banyak jemputan daripada negara asing, terutamanya negara-negara Islam, untuk beliau mengongsikan pemikiran, dasar serta strategi berkenaan.

Ini kerana pemikiran Mahathir mengenai hal ini didapati boleh menjadi sebahagian dasar serta strategi dalam menangani kemelut dunia mutakhir ini.

Awal minggu lalu Mahathir berucap di Syria. Sesudah itu, beliau berucap di Bali, Indonesia. Semalam, 29 November 2008, Mahathir tiba di Tehran, Iran untuk memberikan buah fikiran beliau mengenai perkara yang sama kepada sekumpulan diplomat dan bakal diplomat Iran.

Di bawah ini adalah ucapan Mahathir di majlis tersebut hari ini, 30 November 2008, di Institute For Policy And International Studies, Tehran, Iran. Sesudah itu Mahathir menjawab pelbagai soalan mengenai maudhuk yang sama.

CHALLENGES OF THE ISLAMIC UMMAH IN FACING GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

Ucapan Tun Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad
di Institute For Policy And International Studies
Tehran, Iran, pada 10.00 pagi, 30 November 2008

The financial crisis is yet another threat facing the Islamic ummah. Whether we can avoid being dragged down by this crisis or we can minimize the effect will depend much on us. It will also depend on whether the ummah choose to act together or whether each Islamic nation will act individually.

In facing any challenge we need to know as much as possible the nature of the challenge and how it will affect us. But more importantly we need to know the causes of the financial crisis itself, and what made it possible.

The systems that we see collapsing i.e. the monetary and banking systems have been in place for centuries. Why is it that the collapse is happening now and not before, not when the systems were introduced or shortly after? And why has it happened to the richest and the most powerful countries of the world?

The problem with systems and ideas devised by Man is that they always undergo change over time. New ideas would be added to them. The new ideas may not be good for the original system or idea.

Thus money began with coins of metal of definite values. But this was replaced with paper money backed by gold. Then gold backing was dispensed with. The value of paper money is vaguely related to the strength of a country’s Government or its economy. Finally it was to be determined by the willingness of the market to accept the paper currency notes.

At this stage the currency became open to manipulation by market players. Currency traders find they could easily change the value of a currency in terms of exchange rates by massive selling and buying.

Besides making huge profits from currency trading, it was found that the countries whose currency has been devalued would experience political, economic and social turmoil. They and their people can become very poor.

The Western powers saw in this an opportunity to hegemonise and control the developing countries. The IMF and the World Bank were used for this purpose. By applying conditions to loans by the IMF/ World Bank, the countries in distress can be forced to surrender political and economic control to the Western powers. The impoverisation of these countries also enabled the Western banks and capitalists to buy up all the businesses of the debtor countries at very cheap prices as they all have been made bankrupt or nearly bankrupt by the devaluation of their currencies.

Currency trading is therefore a political weapon to bring all the countries of the world under the control of the Western powers. How far-reaching the control can be is being seen now. The foreign funds which had come in to buy shares and banks during the 1997 – 98 financial crisis in the East are now pulling out, taking their capital with them in order to escape the impending crises. They have done this, this time, in expectation of the world financial crisis affecting the economies of these countries adversely. The withdrawal of their capital will in fact cause the financial crisis to affect these countries sooner and more severely.

Currency trading is made possible because of fiat money i.e. money that is not linked to gold or other precious metals.

We all use paper money now. Our paper money is also not linked to gold. But we do not indulge in currency trading although we still have to buy foreign currency to pay for imports. To a certain extend the market determines the exchange rate of our money. This causes a certain degree of instability but not sufficient to impoverish us.

Still it is best if the exchange rates remained stable. That is why Malaysia decided that Government should fix the exchange rate of the Malaysian Ringgit. All the great experts predicted a collapse of the Malaysian economy because we did not abide by international rules or wisdom. But as you know we recovered faster than the other countries after fixing the exchange rate.

Islamic countries should study the possibility of fixing the exchange rates of their currencies as a measure to protect themselves during the current financial crisis.

However the fact remains that the monetary system of the world today is open to all kinds of manipulation. The world needs to have a new monetary system that would be less easily manipulated.

Perhaps the ummah might push for a return to the gold standard. Another solution could be the use of the gold dinar purely for trade payments. In any case the Islamic ummah can reduce the attacks against them by not using the American Dollars for trade payments, especially for oil.

The U.S. Dollar is not backed by reserves as are other currencies. Apart from that the Unites States is bankrupt as it has a debt of 14 trillion dollars and it can never repay this debt. This huge borrowing by the United States is because for many years it has trade and current account deficits which forces it to borrow 1 ½ billion dollars a day to sustain itself.

The only reason why the U.S. Dollar has any value at all is because it is used in trade payments. If the gold dinar or other currencies are used for trading then there would be no demand for U.S. Dollars. It would then become worthless and that would have consequences over the United States’ foreign policy.

This is something that the Muslim ummah can make use of in protecting themselves from the current financial crisis.

The other major cause of the present crisis is the banking system. For most people a bank is a convenient institution for depositing safely their money and withdrawing it when needed. We do not question how banks function. We assume that the money the banks lend us comes from the capital and the deposits with the banks.

The present banking system was created some 300 years ago by the Rothschild’s. In that system money is actually made out of thin air, out of nothing. No gold or other assets were necessary. Yet the money borrowed from them has accepted values. Each time money is lent it creates money for the banks.

In most countries central banks owned by Government produce coins and print money. The money in circulation is therefore under Government control. But money can also take the form of cheques and how much money issued as cheques is not controlled by the Government.

The United States Federal Reserve Bank is not owned by the Government. It is owned by twelve privately owned state reserve banks. Yet the Federal Reserve Bank can actually print and issue currency notes, without any backing. Certainly it can lend money to the Government in the form of cheques.

Other banks can borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank when short. But these banks can lend much more than the amount of capital and the deposits from its clients. In the American system the banks can lend 90% of the deposits by its clients. But such is the system in use that the banks can actually lend 10 times the amount that it holds in the form of deposits.

Whereas ordinary businesses can only sell what they have in stock, banks can apparently deal in ten times the money held by them.

The profits made by ordinary business is hardly ever more than 10% of the total value of the stock sold. But since banks earn a fix interest, and the interest comes from 10 times the money it actually holds, the earnings of the banks are far higher than from ordinary business.

Since banks can lend more than the money it has, the tendency is to increase the lending as much as possible.

The current crisis began with the sub-prime loans, i.e. loans at high interest to risky borrowers. The total amount of loans to such borrowers runs into hundreds of billions of dollars.

Housing loans usually require payment over 30 years. Banks calculate their earning from interest and principle over this period, without taking into account bad debts.

To avoid risks these loans were bundled up together with the good loans and insured with insurance companies such as AIG. The banks may also allow for a second mortgage to hedge against possible default.

Additionally the houses against which the loans were taken would belong to the bank until the total debt has been paid in 30 years time.

It seems that the banks would be making good profits even if the loans carry high risks. So would the insurance companies and the mortgage companies.

But when the risky loans defaulted by the millions resulting in debts of hundreds of billions which cannot be repaid, the banks were faced with huge numbers of non-performing loans. At the same time the collateralised houses cannot be sold as banks refused to lend money to buyers and the original banks could not recover any of the money lent through sales of the collaterals.

The insurance companies were also unable to pay the banks because the premium they received was far too small for the losses sustained by the banks.

The mortgage companies also faced the same problem as payments could not be paid by the borrowers.

The result is the spectacular collapse of the banks because most of the loans were not from deposit money but the ten times more than the deposits which banks were allowed to lend.

When banks lend much more than the money they have they were actually creating money out of nothing. If the loans are repaid then they would stand to gain far more than if they had limited themselves to their subscribed capital and deposits. However if the borrowers defaulted then their losses could exceed their capital and the deposits they had received. They would become bankrupt.

The sub-prime fiasco is due to the failure of the huge loans to high risk borrowers, to yield the interest and the principle expected. The banks concerned have lost far more than whatever capital assets or even deposits they had taken. Obviously they would not be able to return the deposits they had taken. They have by definition become bankrupt. When banks go bankrupt a whole lot of other businesses which depend on the banks for their operating capital will also go bankrupt. Hence, the bankruptcies of the three huge automotive companies of America.

The hedge funds are also affected as they depend on loans from the banks to leverage their investments.

Why did this crisis happen to the United States and not the other countries? Firstly, it is because the privately owned banks actually issue large amounts of money in America. It should be noted that the money issued need not be in the form of printed currency notes. Cheques can be made out in any amount and effectively the cheques are money. The lending and borrowing are no longer constrained by the amount of currency notes in circulation.

The second factor is the faith in the market regulating the value of money. Wall Street and the rich capitalists had persuaded the Government that it should not interfere with the market i.e. with banking and finance and the way money is used to make more money.

The market is about making money, making profits regardless of the consequence. When the banks created money out of thin air, when they lend this money to people quite incapable of repaying their loans, when the amounts exceed the capacities of the banks to recover in cash after the loans go bad, when the deals become so big as to be far bigger than money in circulation and total trade in goods and services, the Government did nothing. The Government did not even require accounts to be submitted for tax purposes. Though banks are required to submit accounts and pay taxes, this was easily avoided by having offshore subsidiaries in tax havens where they can borrow huge sums from legitimate banks and do anything they like with the money without having to show accounts to any Government agency.

The hedge funds took advantage of the lack of Government supervision to borrow as much as twenty times the amount invested in them. Using these loans the hedge funds made huge investments mainly in the money market, guaranteeing return to investors of 30% or more. This was believed to be possible because the returns would be from twenty times the amount invested in the hedge funds. So huge are the hedge funds that Central Banks cannot hope to protect national currencies by buying the currencies dumped into the market by hedge funds.

What can the Muslim ummah do to face the worldwide financial crisis? The first thing would be to continue with Government regulations of the banks and the financial institutions. The free market system should not be adopted, at least not in full. Instead, all financial transaction must be made transparent and subjected to proper regulation. The regulation should be judicious as over-regulation can stifle business, and affect economic growth.

The idea of a globalised, borderless world has been promoted by the rich countries especially the United States. Conceived by the rich, we can be sure that it was meant to benefit them.

Globalisation is something that cannot be avoided as the ease of communication and travel make isolation of countries impossible. Whether we like it or not whatever happens in other parts of the world will effect us. This involves not only finance and the economy but also political and social ideas.

There is more than one way to globalise. Muslims must study the manner and the effect of globalisation in order to devise a system of globalisation which will not destroy the Muslims and their religion.

In banking and finance, the principal causes of the current financial crises, there is no need to follow all practices coming out of the West.

The ummah can have their own banking and financial system. Already we have Islamic banking and Islamic insurance. They have not been abused the way the Western banking systems and insurance have been abused. It is necessary that the Muslim institutions such as these be scrutinied carefully in order to prevent them from causing the same problems.

Muslims must be active in proposing new systems, rules and regulations for banking and finance. We should even propose to go back to gold whether it is in the form of gold dinar or any coin or bullion.

To save our currency and economy from being affected by western banking practices and the U.S. Dollar, a new trading currency should be proposed to replace the U.S. Dollar. Such a trading currency should be tied to gold and used only in international trade.

This will help stabilise the value of national currencies as gold has intrinsic value in all countries. The local currencies can still be used but the value must be pegged to the international trading currency. There will be fluctuation as gold prices do fluctuate. But this would be minimal, much less than paper money.

Truly the Muslim ummah are in the best position to initiate and sustain the monetary and financial systems of the world. This is because they are in possession of more money than they can find use for. They are even in a position to insist that their oil be paid in the local currency or in any currency designated by them. Whatever currency they choose will become strong simply because there will be a demand for it just as today the U.S. Dollar has a value because there is a demand for it in the settlement of trade.

What is needed from the ummah is the will to insist on their wishes to be considered. I do not see all the Muslim counties in the world acting together. But it would be enough if a few would coordinate their efforts, would act together and agree to promote the interest of the ummah.

Dikirimkan daripada Tehran, jam 8.52 malam waktu Iran. – Ruhanie Ahmad

16 comments:

Hasbullah Pit said...

Che Det telah diracuni Umar Vadillo seminggu yg lalu

shahbandarmalakat said...

Datuk...itu lah cara Mahathir berfikir..mengikut logik yang dia tampak..logik sebab menyebab satu perkara berlaku...dari situ kita tahu punca masalah dan senang lah kita mencari solusinya...Cara mahathir berfikir consistent...tapi Mahathir patut balik kepada Islam sebenar yang melarang riba..kewujudan bank ada lah atas riba..tiada riba tiada bank..bank idea yahudi...sistem islam sebenar tiada riba tiada bank..(baitulmal bukan bank)
islam menggalakakn pinjaman kerana terdesak pasal tak makan..dalam keadaan macam tu baru kita meminjam..bila buat rumah tak cukup duit jangan buat lagi..jangan pinjam...
Bank islam adalah hanya satu camouflage dengan menukar riba dengan bentuk lain namun in final analysis dia adalah riba..macam cerita abu nawas..dimana riba dikatakan anak duit..duit beranak...dan bagaimana bila tiba masanya nak bayar anak duit abu nawas tak terdaya nak bayar..lalu dia buat helah...menangis di atas kubur..bila dia tanya oleh peminta pinjaman dia kata dia menangis kerana 'ibu duit'yg di pinjamkan kepadanya dah mati masa beranakkan 'anak duit'. maka di tak boleh bayar 'anak duit itu" anak pun sama mati tak sempat lahir.

cmk said...

Salam Datuk,

Biar sehebat manapun idea Tun, tiada siapa yang akan dengar suara beliau di Malaysia kerana beliau bukan PM lagi. Mungkin beliau masih dihormati oleh dunia luar tetapi beliau sudah "tiada harga" di sini.

Teringat saya dialog dalam iklan Petronas... "Atuk jangan lupa pakai pampers tau..."

Apa nak buat, dah nasib badan...

dizzy boy said...

Saudara pembaca n Datuk Ron,
Kini melayu terutama dlm UMNO resah akibat pelbagai kaum d msia telah menyuarakan ketuanan melayu,sekiranya TDM dan UMNO tidak melucutkan kuasa-kuasa Raja-Raja Melayu maka perkara ini tidak akan terjadi sehingga hari ini.Dgn sewenang-wenangnya bangsa asing ingin memperkatakan ketuanan melayu,malah dlm pimpinan tertinggi UMNO juga telah membuat komen keras terhadap bangsa asing d msia,sepatutnya pemimpin tertinggi UMNO patut mengembalikan kuasa-kuasa Raja.Org melayu kuat dgn kerana Raja-Raja Melayu.Sekarang ini mana ada dah Raja-Raja kita melakukan zalim terhadap rakyat,maka dgn wajarnya ianya wajib dikembalikan kpd yg asal,kerana TDM telah gubal undang2Raja-Raja maka Pak Lah telah mengambil kesempatan untuk membelakangkan keputusan Raja-Raja Melayu pd Mac yg lalu iaitu tidak mengiktirafkan watikah Raja Perlis dan Sultan Trengganu.Ini akibatnya yg perlu ditanggung oleh rakyat dan diambil kesempatan oleh bangsa asing.Sy cukup marah dgn sikap TDM krana pentingkan dirinya sendiri.Sanggup lucut kuasa-kuasa Raja,dan kini rakyat hanya tgk dan tidak boleh ambil tindakan.Byk NGO2telah mempersoal isu-isu yg sentitif,pemimpim UMNO tidak dpt buat apa2,sekiranya kuasa Raja itu masih ada pd Raja kita maka Raja-Raja Melayu akan bersidang dan membuat keputusan demi bangsa,negara dan agama.Sy berharap UMNO dpt mengembalikan kuasa Raja-Raja dgn kadar segera untuk pulihkan keadaan sekarang.

wira said...

Datuk Ron,

Kita tidak perlu riak diatas kejayaan yang telah kita tempa didalam mengharungi kemelesetan ekonomi yang lalu dan cara kita yang dipimpin oleh mantan PM Tun (dulu Dato Seri)Mahathir adalah sesuai didalam keadaan dahulu dengan izin Allah.

Kini kita lebih berpengalaman dari orang lain tentu pemimpin sekarang ambil iktibar ini dan terus mengorak langkah kedepan. Kalaulah masih ragu-ragu didalam mengambil tindakan seperti pemimpin yang dangkal ilmunya atau ini adalah permainan politik, saya fikir masa untuk bermain sudah berlalu.

Semua orang terutama pemimpin perlu menunjukkan mereka boleh duduk dihadapan barisan dan mengharunginya. Biarlah Malaysia tunjunkkan dengan perbuatan yang baik, iaitu - tidak ada pembuangan pekerja, tidak ada kuncupan bajet, projek2 terus dilaksanakan.

akuduniaku said...

salam link blog saudara

minda mahathir>> hurm..

M.H. PUTEH said...

analisis yg sangat kritikal dan juga memberitahu apa yang perlu dilakukan.tetapi selagi nagara arab dikuasai oleh keturunan diraja yang bengap dan bebal, tiada apa yang boleh dilakukan.

Sukj said...

Salam Datuk,

1. Saya rasa ekonomi negara kita akan berada dalam keadaan amat terjejas sekiranya cadangan tambatan ringgit dilaksanakan semula.

2. Apa yang perlu negara kita lakukan sekarang ialah 'kestabilan jang masa panjang'. Bukannya 'ubahsuai' ikut cita rasa.

3. Kadar pertukaran mata wang yang 'tetap' tidak dapat mengelak berlakunya keadaan tidak menentu, cuma ia dipindahkan kepada harga dalam negeri seperti harga aset dan inflasi.

http://suarasukj.blogspot.com

slyderrose said...

Apa yg dilakukan olih Amerika tidak sama dengan apa yg dilakukan olih Mahathir. Mahathir selamatkan kroni tetapi Amerika selamatkan Bank2 di sana dan tidak ada kena mengena dengan kroni atau anak2 Bush.

Mika Angel-0 said...

Sdr Ruhanie Ahmad,

Ini menjurus kepada persoalan 'open economy' dan 'close economy'.

Saranan Tun Mahathir hanya dapat dizahirkan sekiranya terdapat pakar-pakar ekonomi yang menyanjungi Islam untuk menyediakan langkah-langkah bagaimana peradaban ekonomi Islam dapat dilaksanakan di pentas dunia yang sudah tentunya tidak mahu pemikiran Islam menguasai mereka.

Bagaimana mahu direncana-majukan blok perdagangan yang berunsurkan dinar emas dapat hidup sejahtera dalam sistem global yang tidak boleh lagi meluncur atas landasan Gold standard.

Terima Kasih.

Mika Angel-0 said...

Sdr Ruhanie Ahmad,

Sekadar melanjutkan perbincangan dalam penggunaan emas:

EMU, the ECB and gold ;

dalam hal pemikiran mengenai tambatan matawang saya tidak beberapa setuju memandangkan kerajaan persekutuan kini tidak efektif menguruskan ekonomi negara dan hilang punca cuba mengendalikan dan mengawal belanjawan deficit yang akan mempengaruhi nilai matawang. Kita pun semestinya paham bagaimana hendak dijayakan tambatan ringgit.

Cuma bagaimana kita bergerak dalam kelembapan ekonomi dan kaedah kewangan dunia dalam ketidaktentuan - tak keruan. Ramai yang menunggu Budget 2009 United Kingdom yang akan dibentang oleh Alistair Darling sebagai petunjuk keluar dari krisis Wall Street 2007. Kemudian daripada itu, pada March 20 G20 Summit dan Davos.

Sekiranya kita bebas dari kedangkalan Nor Mat Yakcub(MoF2) dan mempunyai ide yang jauh pandangan kita bolehlah memudahkan saranan Tun Mahathir.

Sekiranya ada usul tidak percaya kepada Nor Mat Yakcub(MoF2) saya pasti mengundi dia dipecat.

Ini pandangan saya. Apa pula pandangan Kuda Kepang dan Tun Mahathir haruslah diperhalusi.

Terima Kasih

antubiul said...

Datuk Ruhainie,

Benar kata kata Dr Mahathir especilly on 'Islamic finance has not been abuse' sepatut nya ditambah 'YET'. Sebenar nya , Islamic finance is going and will be abuse from those people who believe and adopting 'menghalalkan cara'. Misal nya, sell and buy of debts. Islam tidak membolehkannya tapi telah ada yang menghalal cara untuk menghalalkan 'debts financing'. Cara financing, misalnya A nak pinjam 10,000 dari Bank B, maka di adakan jual beli. Diadakan upacara jual beli dengan si Bank B tadi mencapai apa saja yang ada di depan nya, upamanya pen kemudian menjualkan kepada Si A dengan harga yang di persetujui yakni RM10,000. Selapas akad kemuadian konrak atau letter of offer di menterai. Ikut logik akal, pen yang di jual oleh Bank B tadi cuma berharga 0.50 cent dan bank menjualnya dengan harga 10,000. Ini lah menghalalkan cara. tidak cukupkah dengan cara yang lebih telus, yakni Si A mahu meminjam dari Bank B dan Bank B setuju meminjam kepada A dimana A akan membayar 'service charge' kepada B diatas kehilangan 10,000 dari Bank B yang boleh digunakan untuk generate income. Tidak payah nak jual beli dengan pen 0.50.Dunia dah terbalik. Bagaimanapun DR M is a genius dan pelik nya majority rakyat Malaysia masih mau mendengar apa yang di bicarakan oleh DR M termasuklah negara negara asing malang nya kerajaan AAB memilih untuk meminggirkan DR M. Dari tindakan awal Najib, nampaknya akan menerukan mission Abdullah dengan meneruskan Islam Hadari. Namak gaya Najib is going to be Abdullah pupet i/o DR M .

Mika Angel-0 said...

Sdr Ruhanie,

International Trade & Finance
(muslim thoughts 101)

Currency trading is therefore a political weapon to bring all the countries of the world under the control of the Western powers. How far-reaching the control can be is being seen now. The foreign funds which had come in to buy shares and banks during the 1997 – 98 financial crisis in the East are now pulling out, taking their capital with them in order to escape the impending crises. They have done this, this time, in expectation of the world financial crisis affecting the economies of these countries adversely. The withdrawal of their capital will in fact cause the financial crisis to affect these countries sooner and more severely...

There is more than one way to globalise. Muslims must study the manner and the effect of globalisation in order to devise a system of globalisation which will not destroy the Muslims and their religion.

In banking and finance, the principal causes of the current financial crises, there is no need to follow all practices coming out of the West.

The ummah can have their own banking and financial system. Already we have Islamic banking and Islamic insurance. They have not been abused the way the Western banking systems and insurance have been abused. It is necessary that the Muslim institutions such as these be scrutinied carefully in order to prevent them from causing the same problems.

Muslims must be active in proposing new systems, rules and regulations for banking and finance...



the winner:

To save our currency and economy from being affected by western banking practices and the U.S. Dollar, a new trading currency should be proposed to replace the U.S. Dollar. Such a trading currency should be tied to gold and used only in international trade...What is needed from the ummah is the will to insist on their wishes to be considered. I do not see all the Muslim counties in the world acting together. But it would be enough if a few would coordinate their efforts, would act together and agree to promote the interest of the ummah.

A new foundation call IMF-FSF?
Who holds veto power and who contributes?


Terima Kasih, Kuda Kepang dan Tun Mahathir

(Engak - much easier and better to set up the Islamic Countries Dinar...just a few islamic countries only and too small to be bothered by the G8)

Mika Angel-0 said...

Sdr Ruhanie Ahmad,

Fixing The Financial Crisis
(get his book, and let me read it)

Dow plunges on news recession began in Dec. 2007
By JEANNINE AVERSA and MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writers Jeannine Aversa And Martin Crutsinger, Ap Economics Writers
1 hr 45 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Most Americans sorely knew it already, but now it's official: The country is in a recession, and it's getting worse. Wall Street convulsed at the news — and a fresh batch of bad economic reports — tanking nearly 680 points. With the economic pain likely to stretch well into 2009, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday he stands ready to lower interest rates yet again and to explore other rescue or revival measures.

Rushing in reinforcements, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who along with Bernanke has been leading the government's efforts to stem the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, pledged to take all the steps he can in the waning days of the Bush administration to provide relief. Specifically, Paulson is eyeing more ways to tap into a $700 billion financial bailout pool.

On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., vowed to have a massive economic stimulus package ready on Inauguration Day for President-elect Barack Obama's signature.

That measure — which could total a whopping $500 billion — would bankroll big public works projects to generate jobs, provide aid to states to help with Medicaid costs and provide money toward renewable energy development. Crafting such a colossal recovery package would mark a Herculean feat: Congress convenes Jan. 6, giving lawmakers just two weeks to complete their work if it is to be signed on Jan. 20.

President George W. Bush, in an interview with ABC's "World News," expressed remorse about lost jobs, cracked nest eggs and other damage wrought by the financial crisis. "I'm sorry it's happening, of course," said Bush. The president said he'd back more government intervention.

None of the pledges for more action could comfort Wall Street investors. The Dow Jones industrials plunged 679.95 points, or 7.70 percent, to close at 8,149.09.

It was another white-knuckle day, punctuated by grim economic reports. An index of manufacturing activity sank to a reading of 36.2 in November, a 26-year low, the Institute for Supply Management reported. Construction spending fell by a larger than expected 1.2 percent in October, the Commerce Department said.

Adding to the gloom, the National Bureau of Economic Research, a group of academic economists, concluded Monday that the country has been suffering through a recession since December 2007.

With NBER's decision, the United States has fallen into two recessions during Bush's eight years in office. The first one started in March 2001 and ended in November of that year.

The economy jolted into reverse in the final three months of last year. After a short spring rebound, it contracted again in the summer. Economists say it is still shrinking and will continue to do so through at least the first quarter of next year.

Unlike past recessions, consumers are bearing the brunt of this one. Clobbered by job losses, hard-to-get credit and hits to their wealth from sinking home values and plunging portfolio investments, consumers have cut back sharply on their spending, throwing the economy into chaos.

Watching customers' appetites wane, employers have throttled back on hiring. The unemployment rate in October zoomed to 6.5 percent, a 14-year high. So far this year, 1.2 million positions have disappeared. The jobless rate is likely to climb to 8 percent or higher next year.

Against that backdrop, many economists believe the current recession will be the worst since the 1981-82 downturn.

To help ease the pain, Bernanke said additional interest-rate cuts are "certainly feasible," but he warned there are limits to how much such action would revive the economy, which is likely to stay mired in weakness well into next year.

The Fed's key interest rate now stands at 1 percent, a level seen only once before in the past half-century, and many economists predict Bernanke and his colleagues will drop the rate again at their next meeting on Dec. 15-16.

The Fed can lower its key rate only so far — to zero — and it's getting ever closer. Given that constraint, Bernanke said there are other ways to bolster economic activity.

The Fed, for instance, could buy longer-term Treasury or agency securities on the open market in substantial quantities, he said. This might lower rates on these securities, "thus helping to spur aggregate demand," Bernanke said.

Because the Fed can go only so low in reducing interest rates, the central bank over the past year has resorted to a flurry of other radical and often unprecedented actions with the hope of busting through credit jams and getting financial markets operating more normally.

The bracing impact of the Fed's aggressive rate reductions, however, has been somewhat stymied by the credit and financial crises, Bernanke said. Despite lower borrowing costs, skittish banks have been reluctant to lend money to people and businesses, a vicious cycle that has seriously hobbled the U.S. economy.

"Even if the functioning of financial markets continues to improve, economic conditions will probably remain weak for a time," Bernanke warned.

Paulson, meanwhile, has been working closely with the incoming administration, including New York Fed President Timothy Geithner, Obama's pick to be the next treasury secretary, to pave the way for a smooth transition.

"We are actively engaged in developing additional programs to strengthen our financial system so that lending flows into our economy," Paulson said, referring to tapping the $700 billion bailout fund. "When these programs are ready for implementation, we will discuss them with the Congress and the next administration," he added.

Paulson did not provide specifics on what type of programs the administration was weighing other than to say that it was looking at ways to boost capital injections into financial institutions.

Associated Press Writers Andrew Taylor and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report

(which form of slavery is better: slaves of capitalistst masters or slaves of muslim masters, Tun Mahathir? How far have you thought it out?)

Mika Angel-0 said...

Sdr Ruhanie Ahmad,

Kuwait Finance Cuts BFR By 25 Basis Points

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Bhd (KFHMB) has reduced its Base Financing Rate (BFR) by 25 basis points to 6.50 percent from 6.75 percent effective Monday.

In a statement here, KFHMB said the decision to cut the BFR follows the easier monetary stance by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), which had announced a cutback in the overnight policy rate (OPR), by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent recently.

"Amidst the severe impact of the current economic crisis on global economies and financial markets, we will continue to support our customers, as we are committed to life-long, mutually beneficial partnerships," said KFHMB managing director Datuk K Salman Younis.

He said there were abundant opportunities to further develop the Islamic markets in Malaysia and in this region.

"Malaysia is an attractive destination for investments and funds from the Middle East, particularly Kuwait, to finance viable manufacturing and services sector projects that would ensure continuous returns on a long term basis," he explained.
-- BERNAMA


how do you define BFR and what is the difference between BFR and BLR?
How do you quantify risk in Islamic Finance? Take the non-islamic finance figures and dress it with some mantras?

Berita dari gunung said...

Senario politik sekarang tidak mengizinkan idea Tun Mahathir dipelawa dan diterima secara terbuka. Abdullah dan orang yang masih ada kesan parut "gocoh" 1987 ada mimpi ngeri.

Walaupun begitu masih ada Timbalan Menteri Kewangan yand dulu. Masih ada Tok Pa dari Jeli yang bijak dan tahu serba serbi. Cuma yang kita tidak tahu ialah sama ada peranan seorang PM benar-benar perlu dan dituntut bila keadaan jadi buntu. Atau seorang PM dituntut untuk menentu arah tuju dan memilih alternatif yang dikemukakan.

Dalam hal Abdullah Badawi, suka atau tidak, kita kecewa dengan pilihan beliau berkait dengan alternatif yang dibentang. Hinggakan pilihan beliau iaitu Zaid sendiri, telah memaparkan betapa pilihan boleh jadi tersasar.

Kalau mahu disimpulkan disini, jadi PM bukan kerja senang dan main-main, ia untuk minda yang serius dan tajam. PM mesti dikelilingi dengan minda-minda tajam yang bukan opotunis.